Podcast #72: SCIWORA

sciworaRun Time: 3 minutes

Author: Dr. Suzanne Chilton

Educational Pearls:

  • SCIWORA is an acronym for Spinal Cord Injury Without Radiographic Abnormality.
  • This name was appropriate prior to the invention of the MRI, as now MRIs can usually find some abnormality missed on an Xray or CT.
  • This type of injury occurs most often in children because they have a head that is too large for their body acting as a fulcrum to pull their neck. This is exacerbated in children with Down’s syndrome.
  • For children under eight-years-old with a non-focal neurological exam, the chance that they have a cervical spine injury is arguably zero. Children will almost always present with some neurological deficit.
  • The presentation of neurological deficits can be transient and resolve in children with SCIWORA despite having a serious spinal cord injury. Order an MRI if there are any neurological deficits!

Link to Podcast:  http://medicalminute.madewithopinion.com/sciwora/

References:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4262055/

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