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Emergency: requires immediate attention
Central cord syndrome
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Emergency: requires immediate attention

Central cord syndrome

Contributors: Andrea Wasilewski MD, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Central cord syndrome is a type of incomplete spinal cord injury predominantly involving central spinal cord structures of the cervical spinal cord. It occurs most often following acute traumatic spinal cord injury, often in patients with preexisting cervical spondylosis. Patients older than 50 years are at increased risk of developing central cord syndrome due to vertebral degeneration and ligamental weakening, which can cause narrowing of the spinal canal. These changes increase the risk of spinal cord impairment following a cervical hyperextension injury.

Patients with central cord syndrome present with motor impairment that is more prominent in the upper extremities than the lower extremities, with weakness and loss of fine motor control in the hands and arms. Patients may also have other associated symptoms consistent with spinal cord dysfunction, including sensory loss or dysesthesias below the level of the lesion, as well as urinary and/or bowel dysfunction. The severity of neurologic impairment correlates with the severity and extent of the spinal cord injury.

The prognosis is variable and depends on the extent of injury, although most patients with traumatic central cord syndrome will experience some degree of neurologic recovery. Patients treated with surgery in an expedited fashion tend to experience improved outcomes.

Codes

ICD10CM:
S14.129A – Central cord syndrome at unspecified level of cervical spinal cord, initial encounter

SNOMEDCT:
282787000 – Central cord syndrome

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

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Therapy

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References

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Last Reviewed:10/28/2021
Last Updated:11/18/2021
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Emergency: requires immediate attention
Central cord syndrome
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A medical illustration showing key findings of Central cord syndrome : Urinary retention, Paresthesias, Recent fall
Copyright © 2022 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.