Case report and literature review.
Aim of this study was to summarize the current evidence base behind subacute posttraumatic ascending myelopathy (SPAM) including the epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis, prognosis, and etiology.
Summary of Background Data:
SPAM is a rare, potentially fatal disorder which is not attributable to ongoing mechanical instability, syrinx formation, or iatrogenic causes.
A systematic literature search on SPAM was performed on Medline, Ovid, Cochrane, Embase, and PubMed databases between 1969 and 2021. Cases were reviewed and the findings summarized. Further evidence was reviewed to support the hypothesis that disruption of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulation is the underlying etiology of the condition.
It is estimated to occur in 0.4%–0.7% of spinal cord injuries and may have a mortality of up to 10%. The most likely etiology disruption of CSF circulation leading to further damage to the spinal cord presumably through pressure mediated effects such as a reduction in cellular perfusion.
There is effectively no treatment of this condition, however, with interest developing in monitoring of CSF pressures during spinal cord injury this may help confirm the etiology, and allow the suggestion of therapies such as drains or expansion duraplasty to reduce spinal cord pressures.
Level of Evidence:
Level II—case report and systematic review.