Spinal Cord Occupation Ratio (Scor) and its Application in the Diagnosis of Cervical Spinal Cord Compression in Mucopolysaccharidoses


Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) can lead to cervical Spinal Cord Compression (SCC). Diagnostic scores for SCC in MPS use the obliteration of the passage of cerebrospinal fluid in the anterior and posterior spinal cord in the sagittal section of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The Spinal Cord Occupation Ratio (SCOR) published, by Nouri et al (2018), establishes the spinal cord filling index for the spinal cord, identifying disproportionate spinal cord occupation in the canal. When evaluating congenital canal stenosis, the risk of spinal cord injury has been considered increased when the SCOR is ≥ 70% in the median sagittal plane or ≥ 80% in the axial plane. Although these values have not been validated for MPS populations, they could be useful.


To verify the SCOR in MPS patients with diagnosis of cervical SCC comparing the SCOR with other markers proposed in the existing MPS SCC scores, such as the extent of gliosis, clinical impact and the SCC assessment as represented by the obliteration of CSF flow.


We reviewed imaging tests of the cervical spine from MPS patients with previously confirmed SCC, using the SCOR measure in the median sagittal plane, evaluation of the presence and extent of spinal gliosis on MRI, evaluation of the clinical impact using a clinical score and evaluation of the images for the obliteration of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) flow.


Thirty-one MRI of 24 different patients were included. The average SCOR was 87.1%. This was lower (81.6%) in patients without gliosis, when compared to those with focal (90.5%) and extensive (97%) gliosis. The only patient with gliosis associated with a lacunar lesion, resulting from an acute compressive injury, had a 68% SCOR, due to the atrophic spinal cord injury. As expected, SCOR was higher in patients with total or partial CSF obliteration, but one among the 3 patients without CSF flow obliteration, with a 76% SCOR, had already developed focal gliosis and mild clinical abnormalities. Patients with more extensive gliosis had higher clinical scores. Four patients had more than one imaging scan evaluated. SCOR upward trend showed an annual average increase of 3.8%.

Discussion and conclusions

The use of SCOR allows the diagnosis of cervical spinal canal stenosis in an objective way. It is possible that the cut-off values used by Nouri et al in patients with congenital stenosis could be useful to diagnose cervical stenosis in MPS patients, preceding the finding of CSF flow obstruction, presence of gliosis or clinical abnormalities. Furthermore, the use of SCOR may assist in the longitudinal evaluation of disease progression. Better follow-up and timely diagnosis allows for scheduling of surgery at the best clinical moment, minimizing complications.


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