Acute spinal cord injury
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Acute spinal cord injury is a devastating disease with enormous repercussions, not only for the victims and their families but for society as a whole. Despite the advent of novel medical therapies for the treatment of these injuries, many patients with spinal cord injury remain severely incapacitated and dependent on their families and/or specialized nursing care. Much of the controversy in the treatment of these injuries stems from insufficient knowledge about the pathophysiology of the disease as well as the timing of certain treatments such as surgery. We discuss the diagnosis and management of these injuries as well as novel therapies on the horizon. The recent emphasis on evidence-based medicine has resulted in the creation of guidelines from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, which will hopefully result in some standardization of care. It is our opinion that early recognition of spinal cord injury and careful management in an intensive care setting can prevent many of the medical complications that are the major source of morbidity and mortality in these patients.
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