Neurological and Musculoskeletal Disorders (Vignette Questions and Answers)

Vignette Student Response Questions and Answers

Vignette 21: Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

A 22-year-old male was an unrestrained front seat passenger of a car traveling at 50 miles per hour. The driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer that darted in front of the car and hit a tree. The patient was ejected from the vehicle. He was awake and alert at the scene when the paramedics arrived, and his pupils were equal and reactive to light. He was placed in a hard-cervical collar per protocol and log rolled onto a long backboard. He was breathing spontaneously at the scene, but pulse oximetry in the EMS unit revealed a SaOof 88% on room air. He was placed on 100% oxygen via non-rebreather mask and was taken to a Level I trauma center with the following vital signs:

Vital signs: BP 90/50, Pulse 48 and regular, Respirations 24 and shallow with some use of accessory muscles, temp 95.2 F rectally. He was awake and answering questions appropriately but says he cannot feel his arms or legs. Glasgow Coma Scale 14. His skin was warm and dry with minor abrasions noted on his arms. According to family members, past medical history noncontributory and social history reveals only occasional alcohol use and no tobacco or vaping history. Full work up in the ED revealed a fracture-dislocation of C4 with assumed complete tetraplegia (formerly called quadriplegia). No other injuries noted He was given several liters of IV fluid, but his blood pressure remained low.

Question 1 of 2:

Explain the differences between primary and secondary spinal cord injury (SCI)? 

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Question 2 of 2:

What is spinal shock and how it is different from neurogenic shock? 

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