Reappraisal of Methylprednisolone Treatment for Acute Traumatic Cord Injury

Carlos Lam, Ming Fu Chiang, Shin-Han Tsai, Hung-Yi Chiou, Cheuk-Sing Choy, Mau-Roung Lin, Wen-Ta Chiu

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Abstract

Objective: The value of methylprednisolone (MP) treatment in acute traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) remains controversial. We attempted to evaluate the utilization of resources, motor function recovery and adverse effect after the use of MP.
Methods: We compared 13 demographic and clinical characteristics between MP and non-MP treatment groups in 110 patients with acute traumatic SCI treated in hospitals between June 1st, 2000 and May 31st, 2001, and analyzed 10 short-term outcome variables. These demographic and clinical characteristics included age, cause of injury, number of associated injuries, Revised Trauma Score, Glasgow Coma Scale, mean blood pressure, level/completeness and pattern of SCI, number and types of spinal surgeries, frequency of rehabilitation therapy and the time interval between trauma and admission.
Results: The MP (64.5%) and non-MP (35.5%) treatment groups showed no significant differences in all characteristics except the time interval between trauma and admission (P=0.024). MP treatment was associated with a higher frequency of infectious complications (P=0.038), but there was no difference between the two treatment groups in other outcome parameters. The results of analysis stratified by dosage of MP showed that the length of ICU stay (P=0.021) and the number of tracheostomies (P=0.005) and pneumonia cases (P=0.004) were increased significantly in the standard dose group.
Conclusions: Although the rate of infection had risen in patients receiving MP, the steroid treatment did not significantly increase utilization of resources during hospitalization and appeared safe in terms of mortality. However, it had not been proven to improve motor function recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalFormosan Journal of Surgery
Volume39
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • methylprednisolone
  • spinal cord injury
  • outcome
  • infection

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