Orthopaedic Manifestations of Transverse Myelitis in Children

TitleOrthopaedic Manifestations of Transverse Myelitis in Children
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHariharan, A. R., Choi J. H., Cook R. W., Neal K. M., Rogers K. J., Shrader M. W., Ulusaloglu A. C., & Howard J. J.
JournalJournal of pediatric orthopedics
Date Published2021 May 13

BACKGROUND: Transverse myelitis (TM) is a rare inflammatory disorder of the spinal cord. It can have a heterogeneous presentation with sensory, motor, and autonomic dysfunction. Neurological sequelae of TM include autonomic dysfunction, motor weakness, and/or spasticity. Studies describing orthopaedic deformities and treatments associated with TM are nonexistent. This purpose of this study was to describe the orthopaedic manifestations of TM in children.
METHODS: A multicenter retrospective review was conducted of patients, 0 to 21 years of age, with TM presenting over a 15-year period at 4 academic children's hospitals. Those with confirmed diagnosis of TM and referred to an orthopaedic surgeon were included. Demographics, orthopaedic manifestations, operative/nonoperative treatments, and complications were recorded. Descriptive statistics were used for data reporting.
RESULTS: Of 119 patients identified with TM, 37 saw an orthopaedic surgeon. By etiology, 23 were idiopathic (62%), 10 infectious (27%), 3 (8%) inflammatory/autoimmune, and 1 (3%) vascular. The mean age at diagnosis was 6.7 (SD: 5.5) years and at orthopaedic presentation was 8.4 (SD: 5.2) years. Orthopaedic manifestations included scoliosis in 13 (35%), gait abnormalities in 7 (19%), foot deformities in 7 (19%), upper extremity issues in 7 (19%), symptomatic spasticity in 6 (16%), lower extremity muscle contractures in 6 (16%), fractures in 6 (16%), hip displacement in 3 (8%), pain in 2 (5%), and limb length discrepancy in 2 (5%) patients. Seven children (19%) were seen for establishment of care. In all, 14 (38%) underwent operative intervention, mainly for soft-tissue and scoliosis management. Four patients had baclofen pump placement for spasticity management. Postoperative complications occurred in 36% of cases, most commonly because of infection. Neither topographic pattern nor location of lesion had a significant relationship with need for hip or spine surgery.
CONCLUSIONS: This report describes the orthopaedic manifestations associated with TM in children, nearly 40% of whom required operative intervention(s). Understanding the breadth of musculoskeletal burden incurred in TM can help develop surveillance programs to identify and treat these deformities in a timely manner.

Alternate JournalJ Pediatr Orthop
Refereed DesignationRefereed