Coronary angiography as a rare cause for incomplete anterior spinal artery syndrome
This study presents the clinical features and functional outcomes of eight consecutive patients who were admitted to our institution between 2012 and 2014 with nontraumatic spinal cord infarction (SCI), a rare and devastating condition. We also present a literature review of aetiologies and prognostic factors relevant to our case series. The mean age of our cohort was 64 years and five patients were female. Aortic disease was causative in three, including one patient with biopsy confirmed giant cell arteritis. Fibrocartilaginous embolism was a possible aetiology in two others, anterior spinal artery aneurysm in one, and the cause was undetermined in two patients. American Spinal Injury Association impairment scale (ASIA) scores at nadir (time of maximum severity of signs) were B in three, C in three and D in two patients (all were wheelchair dependent). At last follow-up, ASIA scores were C in one, D in five and E in one patient. One patient died, two remained wheelchair dependent, four required a walking aid or frame and one was mobilising independently. A literature review of 11 patient series of nontraumatic SCI found that prognosis is primarily determined by the severity of motor or sensory involvement, in particular, initial and nadir ASIA A/B scores which strongly correlate with poor outcome. In the majority of series, 40-60% of patients had initial ASIA A/B scores with a similar proportion remaining wheelchair dependent on follow-up. Most patients in our cohort had nadir ASIA C/D scores, which may explain their better outcomes.