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April 1973

Acute Transverse Myelopathy in Adults: A Follow-Up Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital, Baltimore. Dr. Lipton is now with the Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.

Arch Neurol. 1973;28(4):252-257. doi:10.1001/archneur.1973.00490220060009

This study comprises follow-up information or pathologic material, or both, from 34 adult patients with acute transverse myelopathy of unknown cause. These patients had no antecedent neurologic or underlying systemic disease. Five patients died during the first four months of illness. Follow-up information was obtained from the remaining 29 patients 5 to 42 years after onset, and postmortem material also was available in three of these cases. During follow-up a clinical diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was made in only one patient. Two thirds of the patients recovered and became ambulatory, while one third remained paraplegic. The only factor which correlated with prognosis was the observation that patients who retained tendon reflexes and posterior column function had a better recovery than those who exhibited spinal shock.

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