Study Design. Retrospective cohort study.
Objective. To assess neurologic recovery and the manner in which it is affected by various factors following nontraumatic spinal cord lesions (NTSCLs).
Summary of Background Data. NTSCLs comprise a considerable portion of spinal cord lesions. However, information about neurologic recovery in these lesions is scarce.
Method. The study sample included 1,085 patients with NTSCL treated between 1962 and 2000 at the premier referral hospital for rehabilitation in Israel. Demographic and clinical data were collected from hospital charts. The degree of neurologic recovery was determined by comparing each patient's Frankel grades of neurologic deficit at first admission to rehabilitation and at discharge from the same hospitalization. The study population was also compared with previously studied 250 patients with traumatic spinal cord lesions (TSCLs).
Results. Complete or substantial neurologic recovery (upgrade to Frankel Grade D or E) occurred during rehabilitation in 51% of patients who were Grade A, B, or C on admission, and in 57% of those who were Grade C. Neurologic recovery in NTSCL during rehabilitation was significantly affected by initial Frankel grade and by NTSCL etiology. Age had a borderline effect. Gender, lesion level, and the decade of rehabilitation did not affect recovery. Recovery rate was usually higher in NTSCLs than in TSCLs.
Conclusions. The prognosis for neurologic recovery is affected mainly by SCL severity and etiology, and is usually better in NTSCLs than in TSCLs.