Journal:Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):, 103, 4, 649–656
Objective: To determine the differences in neurologic recovery in persons with initial cervical American Spinal Cord Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grades A and B over time.
Design: Retrospective analysis of data from people with traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) enrolled in the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) database from 2011-2019.
Setting: SCIMS centers.
Participants: Individuals (N=187) with traumatic cervical (C1-C7 motor level) SCI admitted with initial AIS grade A and B injuries within 30 days of injury, age 16 years or older, upper extremity motor score (UEMS) ≤20 on both sides, and complete neurologic data at admission and follow-up between 6 months and 2 years.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Conversion in AIS grades, UEMS and lower extremity motor scores (LEMS), and sensory scores.
Results: Mean time to initial and follow-up examinations were 16.1±7.3 days and 377.5±93.4 days, respectively. Conversion from an initial cervical AIS grades A and B to motor incomplete status was 13.4% and 50.0%, respectively. The mean UEMS change for people with initial AIS grades A and B did not differ (7.8±6.5 and 8.8±6.1; P=.307), but people with AIS grade B experienced significantly higher means of LEMS change (2.3±7.4 and 8.8±13.9 (P≤.001). The increased rate of conversion to motor incomplete status from initial AIS grade B appears to be the primary driving factor of increased overall motor recovery. Individuals with initial AIS grade B had greater improvement in sensory scores.
Conclusions: While UEMS recovery is similar in persons with initial AIS grades A and B, the rate of conversion to motor incomplete status, LEMS, and sensory recovery are significantly different. This information is important for clinical as well as research considerations.