Clinical course and long-term prognosis of acute transverse myelopathy

Acta Neurol Scand. 1990 May;81(5):431-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1990.tb00990.x.


The clinical characteristics and course of acute transverse myelopathy (ATM) was studied. One patient developed multiple sclerosis. In 1 patient ATM was caused by tumour-cell embolization of the intramedullar vessels; 30 aged 12-74 years (median 36 years) had ATM of unknown course, of these, 13 had symptoms of a preceding viral-like infection, 18 had back-pain and 10 signs of spinal shock. The time from onset of ATM to maximum deficit varied from less than 1 h to 20 days. The thoracic region was the most common level of cord damage. Follow-up was possible in 29 cases; 2 died (2 and 8 months after onset), of the surviving 27 (follow-up 1-13 years, median 6 years) one third had a good outcome, one third a fair, while one third remained paraplegic, incontinent with severe sensory deficits. Back-pain and signs of spinal shock indicated a poor outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / microbiology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Virus Diseases / complications