Background: To compare the clinical characteristics, and short-term outcome of spinal cord infarction and cerebral infarction.
Methods: Risk factors, concomitant diseases, neurological deficits on admission, and short-term outcome were registered among 28 patients with spinal cord infarction and 1075 patients with cerebral infarction admitted to the Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway. Multivariate analyses were performed with location of stroke (cord or brain), neurological deficits on admission, and short-term outcome (both Barthel Index [BI] 1 week after symptom onset and discharge home or to other institution) as dependent variables.
Results: Multivariate analysis showed that patients with spinal cord infarction were younger, more often female, and less afflicted by hypertension and cardiac disease than patients with cerebral infarction. Functional score (BI) was lower among patients with spinal cord infarctions 1 week after onset of symptoms (P < 0.001). Odds ratio for being discharged home was 5.5 for patients with spinal cord infarction compared to cerebral infarction after adjusting for BI scored 1 week after onset (P = 0.019).
Conclusion: Patients with spinal cord infarction have a risk factor profile that differs significantly from that of patients with cerebral infarction, although there are some parallels to cerebral infarction caused by atherosclerosis. Patients with spinal cord infarction were more likely to be discharged home when adjusting for early functional level on multivariate analysis.
Keywords: cerebral infarction; risk factors; short-term outcome; spinal cord infarction.