To quantify critical vascular and mechanical events that occur before and during an evolving spinal cord injury
Summary of Background Data.
Spinal cord injuries are one of the most devastating complications in spine surgery. Intraoperative neuromonitoring
changes can occur as a secondary event of spinal cord compression and decrease in spinal cord blood flow
(SCBF). Laser Doppler
flowmetry has been well validated for measuring blood flow.
Seventeen pigs were studied, 14 of which completed the experiment. Multilevel, midthoracic laminectomies were performed. Laser Doppler
flowmetry electrodes were placed on the dura to measure SCBF. Spinal cord injury
was induced by incremental balloon inflation in the epidural space. The animals were separated into two groups. After motor-evoked potential (MEP) loss, group A underwent medical interventions and then balloon decompression approximately 20 minutes later. Group B underwent immediate balloon decompression followed by medical interventions. After interventions, wake-up test was performed and computed tomography scan measured thoracic spinal canal volume.
Median SCBF changes were seen 15.8 (5.4–25.1) minutes before MEP loss. However, the 20% threshold interval was often reached before. At the 20% threshold, median pressure was 7 psi, balloon volume was 0.5 cm3
, and 50% of the spinal canal was compromised. In group A, no pigs moved and all had pathology indicating ischemia. In group B, 9 of 10 were found to be moving their hind legs with 7 indicating ischemia.
Compression spinal cord injury
is the end of a cascade involving increasing intracanal pressure, decreasing canal volume, and hypoperfusion. Rapid relief of compression leads to MEP return. SCBF monitoring can detect ischemia preinjury, giving surgeons an opportunity for early intervention.
Level of Evidence: 4