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Acute flaccid paraplegia: neurological approach, diagnostic workup, and therapeutic options

By Gentian Vyshka, Altin Kuqo, Serla Grabova, Eris Ranxha, Liro Buda and Jera Kruja


Acute flaccid paraplegia is a clinical occurrence with extreme importance, due to the dramatic presentation, the severity of the underlying disorder, and the generally poor prognosis that follows such a condition. Among etiological factors, the traumatic events are of particular interest, with the clinical treating dealing with a severely ill patient, following fall from height, motor vehicle collisions, and direct shocks applied over the vertebral column. The non-traumatic list is more numerous; however the severity of the acute paraplegia is not necessarily of a lesser degree. Viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and ischemic events involving feeding spinal arteries have been imputed. However, chemical and medications injected during procedures or accidentally intrathecal administration can produce acute flaccid paraplegia. A careful neurological assessment and complete electrophysiological and imaging studies must follow. In spite of the poor prognosis, different therapeutic options have been proposed and applied. Neurosurgical and orthopedic interventions are often necessary when trauma is present, with high dose glucocorticoids treatment preceding the intervention, in a hope to decrease edema-related compression over the spinal cord. Immunoglobulins and plasmapheresis are logical and helpful options when a polyradiculoneuritis produces such a clinical picture. The role of decompression, as neurosurgical exclusivity, has been considered as well

Topics: Acute flaccid paraplegia, Spinal trauma, Compression, Malignancies, Myelitis, Discitis, Medical emergencies. Critical care. Intensive care. First aid, RC86-88.9
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1016/S2221-6189(14)60073-1
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