A review: the role of high dose methylprednisolone in spinal cord trauma in children
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- Pettiford, J.N., Bikhchandani, J., Ostlie, D.J. et al. Pediatr Surg Int (2012) 28: 287. doi:10.1007/s00383-011-3012-3
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The use of steroids in traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in children is controversial. There is a paucity of literature on its usage. To help clarify recommendations on steroid use in children, we reviewed the current literature on the administration of high dose methylprednisolone (MP) use in traumatic spinal cord injuries with an emphasis in pediatric spinal cord trauma.
A retrospective review of the current literature on traumatic spinal cord injuries was conducted. Outcomes were critically reviewed from the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Studies (NASCIS) II and III and Cochrane review; as well as, other randomized and retrospective studies. Papers describing objective neurological outcomes were only included.
The outcomes of neurological improvement following steroid infusion have not been reproducible outside of the NASCIS and one single Japanese trial. High dose steroids significantly increase the risk of infections leading to prolonged hospital stay and ventilator dependence.
Data from adult studies remains controversial with insufficient data to support administration of MP for treatment of traumatic spinal cord injuries. Randomized controlled trials are needed in the pediatric population to assess the advantages of steroid use after SCI in children. On the basis of the current evidence, the use of steroids in patients is associated with increased infectious risks and no neurological improvements.