Sensory perception in complete spinal cord injury

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Finnerup NB, Gyldensted C, Fuglsang-Frederiksen A, Bach FW, Jensen TS. Sensory perception in complete spinal cord injury.

Acta Neurol Scand 2003 DOI: 10.1046/j.1600-0404.2003.00219.x © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objectives – 

To describe sensations evoked by painful or repetitive stimulation below injury level in patients with a clinically complete (American Spinal Injury Association, ASIA Grade A) spinal cord injury (SCI). Material and methods – 

Twenty-four patients (11 with central neuropathic pain and 13 without pain) with a traumatic SCI above the tenth thoracic vertebra were examined using quantitative sensory testing, MR imaging, and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP). Results – 

Painful (pressure, pinch, heat or cold) or repetitive (pinprick) stimuli elicited vague localized sensations in 12 patients (50%). Pain, spasticity, and spasms were equally seen in SCI patients with or without localized sensations. SEP and MRI did not differentiate between these two groups. Conclusion – 

The present study suggests retained sensory communication across the injury in complete SCI, i.e. ‘sensory discomplete’ SCI.

Keywords: complete; discomplete; neuropathic pain; quantitative sensory testing; spasticity; spinal cord injury

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Neurology and Danish Pain Research Centre 2: Neuroradiology 3: Clinical Neurophysiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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