Objective To examine the magnitude of the adverse impact of high-dose methylprednisolone treatment in patients with acute cervical spinal cord injury (SCI).
Methods We examined the abstracted data from the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination database, and included patients with ICD-10 code S141 who were admitted on an emergency basis between 1 July and 31 December in 2007–2009. The investigation evaluated the patients’ sex, age, comorbidities, Japan Coma Scale, hospital volume and the amount of methylprednisolone administered. One-to-one propensity-score matching between high-dose methylprednisolone group (>5000 mg) and control group was performed to compare the rates of in-hospital death and major complications (sepsis; pneumonia; urinary tract infection; gastrointestinal ulcer/bleeding; and pulmonary embolism).
Results We identified 3508 cervical SCI patients (2652 men and 856 women; mean age, 60.8±18.7 years) including 824 (23.5%) patients who received high-dose methylprednisolone. A propensity-matched analysis with 824 pairs of patients showed a significant increase in the occurrence of gastrointestinal ulcer/bleeding (68/812 vs 31/812; p<0.001) in the high-dose methylprednisolone group. Overall, the high-dose methylprednisolone group demonstrated a significantly higher risk of complications (144/812 vs 96/812;OR, 1.66; 95% CI 1.23 to 2.24; p=0.001) than the control group. There was no significant difference in in-hospital mortality between the high-dose methylprednisolone group and the control group (p=0.884).
Conclusions Patients receiving high-dose methylprednisolone had a significantly increased risk of major complications, in particular, gastrointestinal ulcer/bleeding. However, high-dose methylprednisolone treatment was not associated with any increase in mortality.
- Trauma, spine and pelvis
- neurology, spinal
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