Anterior Cord Syndrome
Anterior Cord Syndrome refers to the Anterior Spinal Artery Syndrome. The anterior spinal artery originates from the vertebral arteries and basal artery at the base of the brain. It supplies the anterior two thirds of the spinal cord to the upper thoracic, that is chest, region. Anterior cord syndrome results from injury to the motor and sensory pathways in the anterior cord. Patients suffering from Anterior Cord Syndrome may feel some crude sensations, but their movement and more detailed sensation is lost. In Anterior cord syndrome there is damage primarily in the anterior 2/3 cord. This is related to vascular insufficiency, sparing the posterior columns. Anterior cord syndrome usually results from the compression of the artery that runs in front of the spinal cord. The compression may be from bone fragments or a large disc herniation.
MRI is a most accurate imaging test for spinal disorders. This is because in MRI the spinal cord parenchyma, soft tissue lesions like hematomas, tumors and interverterbral disks, bony lesions like erosion, hypertrophic changes, collapse, fracture and subluxation are revealed. Myelography with a radiopaque agent is used less often. Physicians normally use CT scans to demonstrate bony fragments compressing the anterior spinal cord. X rays may help to detect bony lesions.
Anterior cord syndrome is said to have the worst prognosis of all cord syndromes. The prognosis is usually good if the recovery is evident and progressive in the patient during first 24 hours. However, if there are no signs of sacral sensibility to pinprick or temperature are present after 24 hours, then the prognosis for functional recovery can be said to be poor. There is no standard course of treatment or cure for anterior cord syndrome. Physicians adopt drug therapies and surgery as part of the treatment program. There have been some exceptional cases where sensations that travel along pathways are still intact after the injury. Normally, it is observed that only 10 to 15% of anterior cord syndrome sufferers demonstrate any improvement in functions over a period of time.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 18, 2019