Spinal cord injury is a highly prevalent condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology underlying it is extraordinarily complex and still not completely understood. We performed a comprehensive literature review of the pathophysiologic processes underlying spinal cord injury. The mechanisms underlying primary and secondary spinal cord injury are distinguished based on a number of factors and include the initial mechanical injury force, the vascular supply of the spinal cord which is associated with spinal cord perfusion, spinal cord autoregulation, and post-traumatic ischemia, and a complex inflammatory cascade involving local and infiltrating immunomodulating cells. This review illustrates the current literature regarding the pathophysiology behind spinal cord injury and outlines potential therapeutic options for reversing these mechanisms.
Keywords: compromise; inflammation; injury; mechanisms; spinal cord; therapy; vascular.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.