Failure of methylprednisolone to improve the outcome of spinal cord injuries

Am Surg. 1995 Aug;61(8):659-63; discussion 663-4.


The infusion of methylprednisolone (MP) within 8 hours of injury for spinal cord injuries (SCI) has been advocated to improve the motor function of patients after this catastrophic injury. However, clinical improvement in the outcome of SCI has not been consistently identified, despite the use of MP. We reviewed the outcome of SCI patients with MP to those without MP (No-MP) at two Level I Trauma Centers from 1989-1992. Acute SCI patients were identified from the trauma registries with trauma demographics and hospital data obtained from registry and medical records. Rehabilitation data for Functional Independence Measure (FIM) was obtained from the rehabilitation institute database. Primary outcome parameters were mortality, and for survivors, patient mobility (6 point scale) and FIM scores. There were 145 acute SCI patients: 80 treated with MP and 65 with No-MP. FIM data was available on 45 MP and 25 No-MP patients. There was no difference in the admission trauma score, ICU length of stay (LOS), or hospital LOS between the two groups. The MP patients were significantly younger (30 years vs 38 years, P = < 0.05) and had lower ISS scores (24 vs 31, P = < 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference in mortality (MP, 3.8% vs No-MP, 10.7%) between the two groups. Although admission mobility was not statistically different (MP, 5.99 vs No-MP, 5.90), there was a significantly poorer discharge mobility in the MP group when compared to the No-MP group (MP, 5.16 vs No-MP, 4.67, P = < 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Patient Admission
  • Patient Discharge
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / mortality
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Methylprednisolone