Traumatic central cord syndrome after blunt cervical trauma: a pediatric case report
Introduction:Traumatic central cord syndrome (CCS) is the most frequently encountered incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). The patient presents weakness, which is usually greater in the upper extremities than in the lower extremities, secondary to damage to the cervical spinal cord and anatomic distribution of the corticospinal tracts. CCS is seen commonly after a hyperextension mechanism in older patients with spondylotic changes. There are few literature reports regarding CCS in pediatric patients. We present an unusual case of traumatic CCS in a pediatric patient.Case Presentation:A 15-year-old male patient, victim of bullying at school, received cervical blunt trauma with a plastic tube. Within 3 h, the patient developed generalized weakness, which was greater in the upper extremities than in the lower extremities. Upon evaluation, the patient was found with marked upper extremity weakness compared to the lower extremities, with a Manual Muscle Test difference of 11 points. Imaging studies showed contusive changes in the C4-C7 central spinal cord. After rehabilitation therapies the patient gained 23 points in MMT at the day of discharge.Discussion:Different etiologies of CCS have previously been described in pediatric patients. However, this is the first case that describes a bullying event with cervical blunt trauma and subsequent CCS. In this case, history and physical examination, along with imaging studies, helped in the diagnosis, but it is important to be aware of the possibility of SCI without radiographic abnormalities, as it is common in the pediatric population. CCS occurs rarely in pediatric patients without underlying pathology. Physicians must be aware of the symptoms and clinical presentation in order to provide treatment and start early rehabilitation program.
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