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This article is the author's final published version in Global Spine Journal, Volume 14, Issue 3_suppl, March 2024, Pages 58S - 79S.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2023


STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review update.

OBJECTIVES: Interventions that aim to optimize spinal cord perfusion are thought to play an important role in minimizing secondary ischemic damage and improving outcomes in patients with acute traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCIs). However, exactly how to optimize spinal cord perfusion and enhance neurologic recovery remains controversial. We performed an update of a recent systematic review (Evaniew et al, J. Neurotrauma 2020) to evaluate the effects of Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) support or Spinal Cord Perfusion Pressure (SCPP) support on neurological recovery and rates of adverse events among patients with acute traumatic SCI.

METHODS: We searched PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE and for new published reports. Two reviewers independently screened articles, extracted data, and evaluated risk of bias. We implemented the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to rate confidence in the quality of the evidence.

RESULTS: From 569 potentially relevant new citations since 2019, we identified 9 new studies for inclusion, which were combined with 19 studies from a prior review to give a total of 28 studies. According to low or very low quality evidence, the effect of MAP support on neurological recovery is uncertain, and increased SCPP may be associated with improved neurological recovery. Both approaches may involve risks for specific adverse events, but the importance of these adverse events to patients remains unclear. Very low quality evidence failed to yield reliable guidance about particular monitoring techniques, perfusion ranges, pharmacological agents, or durations of treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: This update provides an evidence base to support the development of a new clinical practice guideline for the hemodynamic management of patients with acute traumatic SCI. While avoidance of hypotension and maintenance of spinal cord perfusion are important principles in the management of an acute SCI, the literature does not provide high quality evidence in support of a particular protocol. Further prospective, controlled research studies with objective validated outcome assessments are required to examine interventions to optimize spinal cord perfusion in this setting.

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