The conceptual differentiation of spinal and neurogenic shock tends to be misunderstood among clinicians. In order to better illustrate the differences in definition, presentation, and development of spinal shock (SS) from neurogenic and other forms of shock, we present herein a clinically relevant summary of typical characteristics of SS. First described in the eighteenth century, the continued investigation into the disease process and the response of neural structures to spinal cord trauma have led to a more complete description and understanding. We will begin in the first part of the chapter describing the etiology of SS, including a working definition, as it pertains to complete spinal cord injuries (SCIs). This is followed by the summary of pathophysiology and clinical presentations associated with each clinical phase of SS. Finally, we explore treatment options and considerations as they relate to incomplete SCI. We hope that by presenting a clear and well-delineated overview of SS, we will allow the clinician to better understand and more accurately predict the evolution of this process. This, in turn, should facilitate the ability to deliver better care for the patient.
Part of the book: Clinical Management of Shock