Neurocritical Care

, Volume 23, Supplement 2, pp 129–135 | Cite as

Emergency Neurologic Life Support: Spinal Cord Compression

  • Kristine H. O’Phalen
  • E. Bradshaw Bunney
  • John W. Kuluz
Review Article


There are many causes of acute myelopathy including multiple sclerosis, systemic disease (SD), and acute spinal cord compression (SCC). SCC should be among the first potential causes considered given the significant permanent loss of neurologic function commonly associated with SCC. This impairment can occur over a short period of time, and may be avoided through rapid and acute surgical intervention. Patients with SCC typically present with a combination of motor and sensory dysfunction that has a distribution referable to a spinal level. Bowel and bladder dysfunction and neck or back pain may also be part of the clinical presentation, but are not uniformly present. Because interventions are critically time-sensitive, the recognition and treatment of SCC was chosen as an ENLS protocol.


Spinal cord compression Neurocritical care Critical care Spinal injury Emergency 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristine H. O’Phalen
    • 1
  • E. Bradshaw Bunney
    • 2
  • John W. Kuluz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Division of NeurosurgeryNicklaus Children’s HospitalMiamiUSA

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