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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 288-299

A comparative study between preoperative and postoperative conventional autonomic functions in congenital craniovertebral junction anomalies

1 Department of Neurosurgery, AIIMS, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Neurosurgery Department, ASTER Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Bhagavatula Indira Devi
Department of Neurosurgery, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Hosur Road, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.jcvjs_57_22

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Background: Autonomic nervous system (ANS) is invariably affected by craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomalies. The usual presentation is sudden after trivial trauma. When symptomatic, most of this autonomic dysfunction is clearly elicited clinically with bedside tests. Nonetheless, ANS functionality in relatively less symptomatic or asymptomatic patients is not known as no studies exist. Methodology: We performed a longitudinal prospective study of 40 less symptomatic patients who underwent surgery with conventional autonomic function tests (AFT) in pre- and post-operative periods. Correlation of its association with such anomalies is studied. Results: All 40 had both pre- and post-operative clinical follow-up, pre-operative AFT, whereas only 22 patients had follow-up AFT. The mean age for the group was 32 years and male: female ratio was 2.3:1. Mean Nurick's grade was 1.8, whereas Barthel's index was 83.75%. Clinical improvement was seen in almost 98% at follow-up. Orthostatic test showed a significant association with Nurick's grade. Barthel's index was significantly associated with degree of compression. The mean follow-up was 17.4 months. Most conventional AFTs were significantly decreased in the preoperative period (P ≤ 0.01). Both parasympathetic and sympathetic tone improved on follow-up with better improvement later. Overall clinical involvement of ANS was seen in 22.5% whereas subclinical involvement in the form of AFT impairment was seen in 100%. Conclusion: There is a definite involvement of subclinical ANS in all patients of CVJ anomalies irrespective of their symptomatology. Knowing the extent of involvement in the preoperative period can help prognosticate, prioritize regarding surgery as well as correlate with the extent of improvement.

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