Outcome predictors and clinical presentation of syringomyelia

Asian J Surg. 2023 Feb;46(2):705-711. doi: 10.1016/j.asjsur.2022.06.150. Epub 2022 Jul 20.


Background: The prognosis of syringomyelia is not yet established. Syringomyelia derived from different etiologies contributes to similar symptoms.

Objective: Assess the syringomyelia in our medical institutes and describe the etiologies and clinical appearance of the disorder. And identify the predictors of a good outcome and to find the most suitable timing of surgical intervention according to our results.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study used databases in our hospitals to analyze 70 cases of syringomyelia between 1997 and 2014. All available information was obtained from medical records and radiological reports. We used American Spinal Injuries Association disability scores (ASIA scores), the modified Nurick classification system, and recorded the number of days the patient was hospitalized, for neurological and functional assessment. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationship between clinical factors and outcomes.

Results: Non-communicating syringomyelia was the most common type of syringomyelia. In univariate analysis, autonomic dysfunction and motor impairment were strong predictors of poor neurological and functional outcomes. In addition to the above factors, syrinxes at the cervical level predicted better functional outcomes than at any spinal level in multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: Motor impairment, which is commonly seen in patients with syringomyelia in Taiwan, is a strong predictor to poor neurological and functional outcomes. Our study indicates that patients without autonomic dysfunction or motor impairment should receive timely surgical intervention to prevent symptomatic deterioration. We also found that cervical syringomyelia in particular has the potential for good functional recovery after adequate intervention.

Keywords: Clinical presentation; Functional outcome; Neurological outcome; Outcome predictors; Syringomyelia.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syringomyelia* / complications
  • Syringomyelia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Treatment Outcome