Ann Rehabil Med.  2014 Aug;38(4):443-449. 10.5535/arm.2014.38.4.443.

Prognosis for Patients With Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury Combined With Cervical Radiculopathy

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, National Rehabilitation Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Nanobiomedical Science, BK21 PLUS NBM Global Research Center for Regenerative Medicine, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 4Institute of Tissue Regeneration Engineering, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.


To delineate cervical radiculopathy that is found in combination with traumatic cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) and to determine whether attendant cervical radiculopathy affects the prognosis and functional outcome for SCI patients.
A total of 66 patients diagnosed with traumatic cervical SCI were selected for neurological assessment (using the International Standards for the Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury [ISNCSCI]) and functional evaluation (based on the Korean version Modified Barthel Index [K-MBI] and Functional Independence Measure [FIM]) at admission and upon discharge. All of the subjects received a preliminary electrophysiological assessment, according to which they were divided into two groups as follows: those with cervical radiculopathy (the SCI/Rad group) and those without (the SCI group).
A total of 32 patients with cervical SCI (48.5%) had cervical radiculopathy. The initial ISNCSCI scores for sensory and motor, K-MBI, and total FIM did not significantly differ between the SCI group and the SCI/Rad group. However, at discharge, the ISNCSCI scores for motor, K-MBI, and FIM of the SCI/Rad group showed less improvement (5.44+/-8.08, 15.19+/-19.39 and 10.84+/-11.49, respectively) than those of the SCI group (10.76+/-9.86, 24.79+/-19.65 and 17.76+/-15.84, respectively) (p<0.05). In the SCI/Rad group, the number of involved levels of cervical radiculopathy was negatively correlated with the initial and follow-up motors score by ISNCSCI.
Cervical radiculopathy is not rare in patients with traumatic cervical SCI, and it can impede neurological and functional improvement. Therefore, detection of combined cervical radiculopathy by electrophysiological assessment is essential for accurate prognosis of cervical SCI patients in the rehabilitation unit.


Spinal cord injuries; Radiculopathy; Prognosis; Electrophysiology; Patient outcome assessment
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