Neurological recovery from complete cervical spinal cord injury

Takeaway

  • People rehabilitating from a grade A complete cervical spinal cord injury can follow a ‘marginal’, ‘moderate’, or ‘good’ recovery trajectory. Good and moderate trajectories were associated with younger age, caudally-located injury, and factors relating to baseline degree of motor and sensory function.

Why this matters

  • Up to half of patients with a cervical spinal cord injury lose all motor and sensory function below the level of injury, defined as grade A on the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS).

  • Substantial neurological recovery is rare but not unheard of in AIS grade A patients. A small but significant minority have been reported where neurological recovery is stronger than expected given the baseline injury severity. Patients with AIS grade A cervical spinal injuries may have vastly different recovery trajectories.