Since malignant spinal cord tumors constitute such a small percentage of spinal cord lesions, nurses may be unaware of the challenging needs of this group of patients. Often young and previously healthy, these people face a rapidly progressive and dismal disease course. Presentation and complaints are related to the location and growth rate of the tumor. Treatment is geared to debulking the tumor mass and preventing its spread. This article discusses the pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, medical management and nursing implications for the patient diagnosed with a malignant spinal cord tumor. A case presentation including examples of nursing diagnoses and interventions follows.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Debra J. Raney, RN, MSN, CCRN at: St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center, Critical Care Skills Lab, 1044 Belmont Ave., Youngstown, Ohio 44501. She is an instructor. Ms. Raney was a student in the critical care MSN program at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, when this article was written.
© 1991 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses