Wasting of the small hand muscles in upper and mid-cervical cord lesions.
Four patients are described with destructive rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine and neurogenic wasting of forearm and hand muscles. The pathological connection is not immediately obvious, but a relationship between these two observations is described here with clinical, radiological, electrophysiological and necropsy findings. Compression of the anterior spinal artery at upper and mid-cervical levels is demonstrated to be the likely cause of changes lower in the spinal cord. These are shown to be due to the resulting ischaemia of the anterior part of the lower cervical spinal cord, with degeneration of the neurones innervating the forearm and hand muscles. These findings favour external compression of the anterior spinal artery leading to ischaemia in a watershed area as the likeliest explanation for this otherwise inappropriate and bizarre phenomenon. (+info)
Genetic influences on cervical and lumbar disc degeneration: a magnetic resonance imaging study in twins.
OBJECTIVE: Degenerative intervertebral disc disease is common; however, the importance of genetic factors is unknown. This study sought to determine the extent of genetic influences on disc degeneration by classic twin study methods using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). METHODS: We compared MRI features of degenerative disc disease in the cervical and lumbar spine of 172 monozygotic and 154 dizygotic twins (mean age 51.7 and 54.4, respectively) who were unselected for back pain or disc disease. An overall score for disc degeneration was calculated as the sum of the grades for disc height, bulge, osteophytosis, and signal intensity at each level. A "severe disease" score (excluding minor grades) and an "extent of disease" score (number of levels affected) were also calculated. RESULTS: For the overall score, heritability was 74% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 64-81%) at the lumbar spine and 73% (95% CI 64-80%) at the cervical spine. For "severe disease," heritability was 64% and 79% at the lumbar and cervical spine, respectively, and for "extent of disease," heritability was 63% and 63%, respectively. These results were adjusted for age, weight, height, smoking, occupational manual work, and exercise. Examination of individual features revealed that disc height and bulge were highly heritable at both sites, and osteophytes were heritable in the lumbar spine. CONCLUSION: These results suggest an important genetic influence on variation in intervertebral disc degeneration. However, variation in disc signal is largely influenced by environmental factors shared by twins. The use of MRI scans to determine the phenotype in family and population studies should allow a better understanding of disease mechanisms and the identification of the genes involved. (+info)
Disabling injuries of the cervical spine in Argentine rugby over the last 20 years.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence and risk factors of disabling injuries to the cervical spine in rugby in Argentina. METHODS: A retrospective review of all cases reported to the Medical Committee of the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) and Rugby Amistad Foundation was carried out including a follow up by phone. Cumulative binomial distribution, chi 2 test, Fisher test, and comparison of proportions were used to analyse relative incidence and risk of injury by position and by phase of play (Epi Info 6, Version 6.04a). RESULTS: Eighteen cases of disabling injury to the cervical spine were recorded from 1977 to 1997 (0.9 cases per year). The forwards (14 cases) were more prone to disabling injury of the cervical spine than the backs (four cases) (p = 0.03). Hookers (9/18) were at highest risk of injury (p < 0.01). The most frequent cervical injuries occurred at the 4th, 5th, and 6th vertebrae. Seventeen of the injuries occurred during match play. Set scrums were responsible for most of the injuries (11/18) but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.44). The mean age of the injured players was 22. Tetraplegia was initially found in all cases. Physical rehabilitation has been limited to the proximal muscles of the upper limbs, except for two cases of complete recovery. One death, on the seventh day after injury, was reported. CONCLUSIONS: The forwards suffered a higher number of injuries than the backs and this difference was statistically significant. The chance of injury for hookers was statistically higher than for the rest of the players and it was particularly linked to scrummaging. However, the number of injuries incurred in scrums was not statistically different from the number incurred in other phases of play. (+info)
Cluster headache-like attack as an opening symptom of a unilateral infarction of the cervical cord: persistent anaesthesia and dysaesthesia to cold stimuli.
A 54 year old man experienced excruciating left retro-orbital pain with lacrimation and redness of the eye representative of a cluster headache attack. This was followed by left hemiparesis with plegia of the lower limb and left Horner's syndrome. Five days later the hemiparesis recovered while the patient developed hypoanaesthesia to cold stimuli that evoked painful burning dysaesthesia on the right side below the C4 level. MRI disclosed a discrete infarct in the left lateral aspect of the cord at C2 level concomitant to a left vertebral artery thrombosis. This limited infarct and the clinical symptoms suggest a hypoperfusion in the peripheral arterial system of the left hemicord, supplied both by the anterior and posterior spinal arteries. Cluster headache-like attack and persistent dysaesthesia to cold stimuli are discussed respectively in view of the central sympathetic involvement and partial spinothalamic system dysfunction. (+info)
Bilateral vertebral artery occlusion following cervical spine trauma--case report.
A 41-year-old female presented with a rare case of bilateral vertebral artery occlusion following C5-6 cervical spine subluxation after a fall of 30 feet. Digital subtraction angiography showed occlusion of the bilateral vertebral arteries. Unlocking of the facet joint, posterior wiring with iliac crest grafting, and anterior fusion were performed. The patient died on the 3rd day after the operation. This type of injury has a grim prognosis with less than a third of the patients achieving a good outcome. (+info)
In vivo and in vitro CT analysis of the occiput.
Arguments concerning the best procedure for occipito-cervical fusion have rarely been based upon occipital bone thickness or only based on in vitro studies. To close this gap and to offer an outlook on preoperative evaluation of the patient, 28 patients were analysed in vivo by means of spiral CT. Ten macerated human skulls were measured by means of CT and directly. Measurements were taken according to a matrix of 66 points following a grid with 1 cm spacing based upon McRae's line. Maximum thickness in the patient group was met 4 cm above the reference plane in the median slice (11.87 mm; SD 3.41 mm) and 5 cm above it in the skull group (15.85 mm; SD 1.81 mm). Correlation between CT and direct measurements was good (91.79%). Intra-individual discrepancies from one side to the respective point on the other side are common (difference > 1 mm in 60%). Judging areas suitable for operative fixation using the 10% percentile value (6.68 mm for the maximum value of 11.87 mm) led to the conclusion that screws should only be inserted along the occipital crest in an area extending from 1.5 cm above the posterior margin of the foramen magnum to the external occipital protuberance (EOP). At the level of the EOP screws may also be inserted up to 1 cm lateral of the midline. A reduction of screw length to 7 mm (9 mm for the EOP) is proposed. Preoperative evaluation of the patient should be carried out by spiral CT with 1 mm slicing and sagittal reconstructions. (+info)
A clinico-pathological study of cervical myelopathy in rheumatoid arthritis: post-mortem analysis of two cases.
Two patients who developed cervical myelopathy secondary to rheumatoid arthritis were analyzed post mortem. One patient had anterior atlanto-axial subluxation (AAS) combined with subaxial subluxation (SS), and the other had vertical subluxation (VS) combined with SS. In the patient with AAS, the posterior aspect of the spinal cord demonstrated severe constriction at the C2 segment, which arose from dynamic osseous compression by the C1 posterior arch. A histological cross-section of the spinal cord at the segment was characterized by distinct necrosis in the posterior white columns and the gray matter. In the patient with VS, the upper cervical cord and medulla oblongata showed angulation over the invaginated odontoid process, whereas no significant pathological changes were observed. At the level of SS, the spinal cord was pinched and compressed between the upper corner of the vertebral body and the lower edge of the lamina. Histologically, demyelination and gliosis were observed in the posterior and lateral white columns. (+info)
Hypoglossal nerve injury as a complication of anterior surgery to the upper cervical spine.
Injury to the hypoglossal nerve is a recognised complication after soft tissue surgery in the upper part of the anterior aspect of the neck, e.g. branchial cyst or carotid body tumour excision. However, this complication has been rarely reported following surgery of the upper cervical spine. We report the case of a 35-year-old woman with tuberculosis of C2-3. She underwent corpectomy and fusion from C2 to C5 using iliac crest bone graft, through a left anterior oblique incision. She developed hypoglossal nerve palsy in the immediate postoperative period, with dysphagia and dysarthria. It was thought to be due to traction neurapraxia with possible spontaneous recovery. At 18 months' follow-up, she had a solid fusion and tuberculosis was controlled. The hypoglossal palsy persisted, although with minimal functional disability. The only other reported case of hypoglossal lesion after anterior cervical spine surgery in the literature also failed to recover. It is concluded that hypoglossal nerve palsy following anterior cervical spine surgery is unlikely to recover spontaneously and it should be carefully identified. (+info)