Clinical assessment following acute cervical spinal cord injury

Mark N. Hadley, Beverly C. Walters, Bizhan Aarabi, Sanjay S. Dhall, Daniel E. Gelb, R. John Hurlbert, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Timothy C. Ryken, Nicholas Theodore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


A variety of injury classification schemes have been utilized to describe patients who have sustained spinal cord injuries. There are 2 general types of assessment scales, neurological examination scales and functional outcome scales. The most accurate and meaningful description of SCI patients, in the acute setting and in longitudinal follow-up, is that accomplished by using a neurological scale in conjunction with a functional outcome scale. Based on a contemporary evaluation and ranking of the medical evidence, the 2000 American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Standards is the most consistent, reliable, valid, and responsive scoring system for the neurological assessment of adult patients with acute SCI, to a high degree of scientific certainty. This recommendation is supported by Class II medical evidence. The SCIM III, designed specifically to assess the functional abilities and impairment of patients with spinal cord lesions and SCI, is the functional outcome assessment tool with the greatest scientific validity, reliability, and sensitivity. This recommendation is supported by Class I medical evidence. The assessment of pain among patients with SCI is important and should include an evaluation of pain severity, physical functioning, and emotional functioning. There are a number of pain assessment classification instruments that have been used in this patient population. The ISCIBPDS has the highest reliability and validity of any of the pain classification instruments and is recommended on the basis of Class I medical evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-53
Number of pages14
Issue numberSUPPL.2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Clinical assessment
  • Functional outcome
  • Neurological examination
  • Pain assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical assessment following acute cervical spinal cord injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this