Vascular Disorders of the Spinal Cord

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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW

Prompt recognition and timely management of vascular disorders of the spinal cord can improve patient outcomes. This article provides contemporary and practical knowledge about the most common vascular myelopathies.

RECENT FINDINGS

New studies have provided additional information on the risk factors and impact of neurologic monitoring on perioperative spinal cord infarction. Additionally, recent publications have provided information on the impact of misdiagnosis, corticosteroid treatment, and postoperative prognosis in the treatment of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas and have discussed the outcome of patients with spinal arteriovenous malformations treated with embolization, surgery, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Finally, recent studies have provided information on the natural history and postoperative prognosis of spinal cavernous malformations and on the risk factors and surgical outcome of patients with spinal epidural hematomas.

SUMMARY

Diagnostic and therapeutic challenges are inherent in managing patients with vascular disorders of the spinal cord, and clinicians should have a thorough understanding of these disorders to facilitate optimal outcomes for patients with these potentially devastating illnesses. This article begins by reviewing functional vascular anatomy and subsequently describes the fundamental characteristics of both ischemic and hemorrhagic vascular myelopathies to equip clinicians with the knowledge to avoid common pitfalls.

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