Spinal cord perfusion pressure predicts neurologic recovery in acute spinal cord injury

Neurology. 2017 Oct 17;89(16):1660-1667. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004519. Epub 2017 Sep 15.


Objective: To determine whether spinal cord perfusion pressure (SCPP) as measured with a lumbar intrathecal catheter is a more predictive measure of neurologic outcome than the conventionally measured mean arterial pressure (MAP).

Methods: A total of 92 individuals with acute spinal cord injury were enrolled in this multicenter prospective observational clinical trial. MAP and CSF pressure (CSFP) were monitored during the first week postinjury. Neurologic impairment was assessed at baseline and at 6 months postinjury. We used logistic regression, systematic iterations of relative risk, and Cox proportional hazard models to examine hemodynamic patterns commensurate with neurologic outcome.

Results: We found that SCPP (odds ratio 1.039, p = 0.002) is independently associated with positive neurologic recovery. The relative risk for not recovering neurologic function continually increased as individuals were exposed to SCPP below 50 mm Hg. Individuals who improved in neurologic grade dropped below SCPP of 50 mm Hg fewer times than those who did not improve (p = 0.012). This effect was not observed for MAP or CSFP. Those who were exposed to SCPP below 50 mm Hg were less likely to improve from their baseline neurologic impairment grade (p = 0.0056).

Conclusions: We demonstrate that maintaining SCPP above 50 mm Hg is a strong predictor of improved neurologic recovery following spinal cord injury. This suggests that SCPP (the difference between MAP and CSFP) can provide useful information to guide the hemodynamic management of patients with acute spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Catheterization / methods*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Perfusion
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / surgery*