Methylprednisolone for acute spinal cord injury: 5-Year practice reversal

R. John Hurlbert, Mark G. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Objective: To re-evaluate practice patterns for methylprednisolone (MP) administration in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) within the spinal surgery community across Canada five years after the publication of practice recommendations. Methods: Canadian orthopedic and neurological spine surgeons were surveyed at their respective annual meetings about their practice of steroid administration for acute SCI by means of a questionnaire comprised of the same seven questions posed five years ago plus an additional question related to change of view. Results: Forty-two surgeons and twenty-one residents directly involved in the acute management of SCI completed the questionnaire. Seventy-six percent of spinal surgeons do not prescribe MP for SCI in sharp contrast to 76% who prescribed it five years ago. Of the 24% who use steroids, the NASCIS II dosing regimen is most commonly followed. One third of physicians continue to administer MP because of fear of litigation. Conclusions: Over a five year period there has been a complete reversal in practice patterns of MP administration for SCI, along with an increased familiarity of the published literature. Attendance at meetings, participation in local group discussions, and peer-reviewed publications appear effective in altering practice preferences arising from peer pressure and even fear of litigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-45
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Neurological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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