Study Design. A retrospective cohort study was conducted. Objective. To assess neurologic recovery and the manner in which it is affected by the severity of the neurologic damage after spinal cord injury. Summary of Background Data. Studies from various countries, but not from Israel, have shown considerable potential for recovery of the damaged human spinal cord. Methods. The study sample included 250 patients with a traumatic spinal cord lesion treated between 1962 and 1992 at the major referral hospital for rehabilitation in Israel. Demographic and clinical data were collected from the hospital charts. The degree of neurologic recovery in each patient was determined by comparing the Frankel grade of neurologic deficit at first admission for rehabilitation with the grade at discharge from that hospitalization. Results. There was median delay of 36 days between injury and admission for rehabilitation. During rehabilitation, full or substantial neurologic recovery (upgrade to Frankel Grade D or E) occurred in 27% of all the patients who were Grade A, B, or C on admission, and in 54% of those who were Grade C. The neurologic recovery was negatively associated with severity of the neurologic deficit. Conclusions. The outcome findings are similar to those reported from spinal rehabilitation units in other countries. The study is a further demonstration of the considerable potential for neurologic recovery after spinal cord injury, when posttraumatic or postsurgical management is focused on prevention of complications and maximal use of functional ability.
- Neurologic deficit