Initial Spinal Cord Injury Evaluation
Care for acute spinal cord injury at Northwestern Memorial Hospital begins in the emergency room where patients are seen and evaluated by a diverse group of well-trained healthcare professionals. This team consists of emergency room physicians, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and highly-skilled emergency room nurses and technicians.
During each spinal cord injury patient's emergency room visit, blood is drawn for tests and intravenous fluids and medications may be given to help prevent the spine from swelling. A thorough neurological exam is performed and x-rays are taken to help determine where the spine is injured. Depending on the level of injury, a breathing tube may be inserted to assist with breathing, and a catheter may be placed to drain urine from the bladder.
After the initial evaluation of each patient's injury, additional tests will be conducted to determine the full extent of the spinal cord injury.
Additional tests may include:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography Imaging (CT)