Spine, May 2013

Current practice of methylprednisolone administration for acute spinal cord injury in Germany: a national survey


Druschel C, Schaser KD, Schwab JM

 

STUDY DESIGN:

Written mail-out survey.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine current practice in high-dose methylprednisolone succinate (MPSS) administration for treatment of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) in Germany.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Reanalysis of the National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Studies (NASCIS) resulted in criticism of the use of high-dose MPSS for treatment of acute SCI. Subsequently, SCI treatment guidelines were revised leading to a reduction in MPSS use across North America. The impact of these revisions on SCI treatment in Germany is not known.

METHODS:

A questionnaire was sent to all trauma, orthopedic and neurosurgical departments of German university centers, affiliated teaching hospitals, and specialized SCI care centers. Survey included 6 questions about the administration of MPSS after acute SCI.

RESULTS:

Three hundred seventy-two respondents completed the survey (response rate: 51% overall, 76% university hospitals, 85% specialized SCI care centers). Overall, 55% of departments that treat SCI prescribe MPSS. Among them, 73% are "frequent" users administering MPSS to more than 50% of their patients. Ten percent prescribe according to NASCIS I, 43% NASCIS II, 33% NASCIS III, and 13% "generic protocols." As justification for MPSS treatment, "effectiveness" ranked before "common practice" and "medicolegal reasons." "Specialized" SCI care centers differ in that (1) MPSS is administered less frequently, (2) NASCIS I doses are not used, and (3) during the past several years, practice patterns are more likely to have shifted away from the treatment of SCI with MPSS.

CONCLUSION:

About one-half of the institutions continue to prescribe MPSS in the setting of acute SCI. A need for further education in almost one-fourth of German departments treating acute SCI is demonstrated through responses indicating use of the outdated NASCIS I protocol, a "legal need" or "unchanged MPSS application during the last years." "Specialized" SCI centers are more likely to change their practice in accordance with evolving literature.

 

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