The Natural History of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy and the Rate of Hospitalization Following Spinal Cord Injury: An Updated Systematic Review

Lindsay A. Tetreault, Spyridon Karadimas, Jefferson R. Wilson, Paul M. Arnold, Shekar Kurpad, Joseph R. Dettori, Michael G. Fehlings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Study Method: Systematic review (update). Objective: Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a degenerative spine disease and the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in adults worldwide. The objective of this study is to determine the natural history of DCM by updating the systematic review by Karadimas et al. The specific aims of this review were (1) to describe the natural history of DCM and (2) to determine potential risk factors of disease progression. Method: An updated search based on a previous protocol was conducted in PubMed and the Cochrane Collaboration library for studies published between November 2012 and February 15, 2015. Results: The updated search yielded 3 additional citations that met inclusion criteria and reported the incidence of spinal cord injury and severe disability in patients with DCM. Based on 2 retrospective cohort studies, the incidence rate of hospitalization for spinal cord injury is 13.9 per 1000 person-years in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy and 4.8 per 1000 person-years in patients with myelopathy secondary to ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL). In a third small prospective study, the risk of being wheelchair bound or bedridden was 66.7% in DCM patients with OPLL. Conclusion: The overall level of evidence for these estimated rates of hospitalization following spinal cord injury was rated as low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28S-34S
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number3_supplement
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017



  • cervical spondylotic myelopathy
  • degenerative cervical myelopathy
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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