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Spinal Cord Infarction

What is spinal cord infarction?

Spinal cord infarction, also sometimes referred to as spinal cord ischemia, is a stroke that occurs within the spinal cord or the arteries supplying it. Here, an ischemia (reduced blood supply to tissues) leads to an infarction, which is the death of tissue due to a reduced oxygen and blood supply. Symptoms usually appear quickly, from minutes to a few hours after the infarction.

What are the symptoms of spinal cord infarction?

  • Sharp or burning back pain
  • Aching pain down the legs
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of pain and temperature sensation
  • Loss of deep tendon reflexes
  • Impaired bladder and bowel control

What causes spinal cord infarction?

Spinal cord infarction is caused by a thickening or closing of the major arteries to the spinal cord (arteriosclerosis). It is frequently caused by a form of arteriosclerosis called atheromatosis, where lipid-containing substances form and accumulate within the arteries.

How is spinal cord infarction diagnosed?

  • Finding of characteristic symptoms
  • MRI
  • Myelography
  • Spinal tap

What are the treatments for spinal cord infarction?

Spinal cord infarction treatment focuses on lessening symptoms. It includes:
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Use of a wheelchair
  • Catheter for patients with urinary incontinence

Where can I find out more about spinal cord infarction?

Spinal Cord Infarction Articles