Prognostic Value of Preoperative Nurick Grade and Time with Symptoms in Patients with Cervical Myelopathy and Gait Impairment

Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Seba Ramhmdani, Thomas Kosztowski, Risheng Xu, Reza Yassari, Timothy F. Witham, Ali Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the prognostic value of preoperative Nurick grade and time with symptoms for gait improvement and recovery in patients with ataxia secondary to cervical myelopathy. Methods A retrospective chart review of all adult patients who underwent surgical decompression for cervical myelopathy between 1996 and 2013 was performed. Only adults with a Nurick grade of at least 2 or worse were included. Outcome measures included gait improvement and recovery. Results A total of 170 patients were identified. Gait improvement and gait recovery occurred in 57.7% and 45.9% of patients, respectively. Time to improvement occurred as early as 1 month up to 24 months postoperatively. A greater preoperative Nurick grade was associated with lower odds of gait improvement (odds ratio 0.74; 95% confidence interval 0.53–0.99, P = 0.048) and gait recovery (odds ratio 0.27; 95% confidence interval 0.17–0.43, P < 0.001). The proportion of patients with symptoms for 12 months or less that experienced gait improvement was 71.2%, compared with 36.4% for patients with symptoms for over 12 months (P < 0.001). Patients with symptoms for 12 months or less had a 59.6% gait recovery rate, compared to 24.2% in patients with symptoms for over 12 months (P < 0.001). Having symptoms for over 12 months was independently associated with lower odds of improvement and recovery. Conclusions Patients with a greater preoperative Nurick grade and symptoms for more than 12 months may have significantly lower odds of experiencing gait improvement or gait recovery after surgery for cervical myelopathy. This study's conclusion favors early intervention in patients with cervical myelopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-320
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Cervical decompression
  • Cervical myelopathy
  • Gait impairment
  • Nurick grade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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