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Post surgical ischemic myelopathy

, : Post surgical ischemic myelopathy. Paraplegia 25(1): 23-26

Ischaemic myelopathy is an infrequent but well-known cause of spinal cord injury. While the overall incidence of neurological injury following thoraco-abdominal aortic surgery is low (1-14%), procedures requiring surgical cross-clamping of the aorta have been reported as the major cause of ischaemic cord injury (31%). Little has been reported regarding the clinical and functional outcomes of these injuries. Three patients with a non-penetrating aortic injury who showed evidence of ischaemic cord injury within 72 hours of surgical cross-clamping of the aorta are presented. Data includes functional assessments, muscle strength testing and electromyographic findings. All three patients showed lower thoracic incomplete motor and sensory spinal cord injuries. These findings suggest that, after a period of neurological improvement, a plateau phase is reached at approximately 3 months post injury after which no significant gain in muscle strength is made. All patients were functionally independent and able to ambulate using a straight cane.

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