Review topic of the day: Spinal Cord Injury Syndromes

1. Spinal shock:

  • Flaccid below level of spinal cord injury
  • Absent reflexes
  • Decreased sympathetic tone
  • Autonomic dysfunction including hypotension
  • Sensation may not be preserved. If absent, concern for total cord transection

2. Central Cord Syndrome

  • Decreased or absent upper extremity function
  • Lower extremity function preserved
  • Associated with extension injuries

3. Brown-Sequard Syndrome

  • Hemisection
  • Ipsilateral loss of motor function and proprioception
  • Contralateral loss of sensation – pain, temperature

4. Anterior Cord Syndrome

  • Complete motor paralysis
  • Loss of pain and temperature sensation
  • Preservation of position and vibration sense
  • Associated with severe flexion injuries

From Strange and Schafermeyer’s Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine


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