The central cord syndrome is an incomplete spinal cord injury that can develop after a minor trauma to the cervical spinal column.
A 73-year-old woman presented at our Emergency Department with pyelonephritis accompanied by weakness and a burning feeling in her arms and legs after a fall on her head. The weakness and pain did not improve during her hospital admission. On consultation with a neurologist, the patient was diagnosed with central cord syndrome. As the neurological loss of function did not resolve spontaneously, the patient underwent laminectomy and spondylodesis. Postoperatively her symptoms improved. After 22 days in hospital, the patient was discharged to a rehabilitation clinic.
In older patients with pre-existing degenerative cervical spinal stenosis, central cord stenosis resulting from minor trauma can cause severe and invalidating symptoms. The early tracing and treatment of patients with this syndrome is essential in order to increase the chance of neurological and functional recovery.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.