The usefulness of central motor conduction studies in the localization of cord involvement in cervical spondylytic myelopathy
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Cervical spondylytic myelopathy (CSM) is common. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although sensitive, often reveals extensive and sometimes clinically irrelevant findings. The purpose of this study was to investigate the usefulness of central motor conduction studies in localizing the rostral level of cord involvement in 6 patients with CSM. Central motor conduction was assessed using high-voltage stimulation for the spinal roots and magnetoelectrical stimulation for the motor cortex, recording from "marker muscles" innervated by successively higher cervical cord segments. Abnormal central motor conduction affected all subjects at C8-T1, 5 subjects at C7, but none at the C5-C6 levels. The MRI showed abnormalities at multiple levels as high as C4. Our results suggest that central motor conduction studies are helpful in localizing the clinically relevant levels of spinal cord compression in CSM and correlate well with motor abnormalities on clinical examination.
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