An audit of current practice and management of metastatic spinal cord compression at a regional cancer centre.
AffiliationWaterford Regional Hospital, Dunmore Road, Waterford. firstname.lastname@example.org
Spinal Cord Compression/diagnosis/*etiology/therapy
MetadataShow full item record
CitationIr Med J. 2011 Apr;104(4):111-4.
JournalIrish medical journal
AbstractMetastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) is an oncological emergency requiring prompt recognition and management to preserve neurological function and mobility. We performed an audit to assess current practice of MSCC against current best practice as outlined by NICE. Our retrospective audit identified 10 patients from January to December 2009 with confirmed MSCC. The most common primary tumours were prostate 3 (30%), breast 3 (30%) and lung 2 (20%). Pain was the main presenting symptom 9 (90%), followed by weakness 7 (70%) and sensory changes 1 (10%). 5 (50%) had MRI within 24 hours and only 6 (60%) underwent full MRI scan. 8 (80%) had corticosteroids before MRI scan. 6 (60%) received radiotherapy within 24 hours. Only 4 (40%) were referred to orthopaedics and none of these patients had been recommended surgery. Up 14 days following radiological confirmation of MSCC, the number of patients who were unable to walk increased by 20%. Only 5 (50%) were discharged during this period of study. Our audit reported a number of variances in management compared to NICE guideline. These can be improved by following a'fast track' referral pathway and regular education for junior doctors and primary care doctors.