712. Understanding Spinal Cord Strokes and Other Vascular Myelopathies

712. Understanding Spinal Cord Strokes and Other Vascular Myelopathies

The TMA is joined by Dr. Nicholas L. Zalewski from Mayo Clinic and Dr. Olwen Murphy from Johns Hopkins University to help our listeners better understand spinal cord strokes and other vascular myelopathies. Definitions of spinal cord stroke and vascular myelopathy were given. The experts explained the similarities and differences of spinal cord stroke and transverse myelitis. Signs and symptoms of spinal cord stroke were discussed, as well as diagnostic criteria and treatment. The experts also discussed long-term symptom management and prognosis of individuals diagnosed with spinal cord stroke, as well as the importance of rehabilitation.


Nicholas L. Zalewski, MD
Mayo Clinic

Nicholas (Nick) L. Zalewski, M.D., is a specialist in Neurology and Neurohospital Medicine. His clinical focus includes expertise in management of multiple sclerosis, autoimmune neurology, and rare spinal cord disease. In addition to his clinical activities, Dr. Zalewski is active in research and education. Dr. Zalewski’s primary approach to research is investigating clinical and radiographic findings that help improve the accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment for patients. He possesses a strong research interest in challenging myelopathies, transverse myelitis, vascular myelopathies, atypical demyelinating disease, autoimmune neurology, paraneoplastic neurological diseases, and neuroimaging. He has published in several high-impact journals including JAMA Neurology, Neurology, Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry.

Olwen Murphy, MB, BCH, MRCP
James T. Lubin Fellow, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Murphy received her medical degree from University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland and completed a neurology residency at The Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. She is a James T. Lubin Fellow at The Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center (JHTMC) in Baltimore, MD, under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos Pardo-Villamizar. Dr. Murphy’s research is on predicting outcomes after a diagnosis of a transverse myelitis using current imaging techniques and spinal fluid analysis. The goal of the research project is to identify patterns or biomarkers that can be used in day-to-day clinical practice to identify benefits from therapies and help make better decisions about care.

1 Comment

  1. Rose Hansen on December 1, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    My best friend likely suffered from one of these two things 28 days ago, and the doctors still can’t figure out if it’s a stroke vs some kind of myelitis. She’s been treated with plasmapheresis and IVIG in hope that will improve her bodily function, but right now, the only improvement we’ve seen is the return of reflexes and pain response. Her 3rd MRI showed a lesion from C-4 to T-6, so whatever it was, it was pretty severe. I just wish we had a diagnosis in order to have a better understanding of treatment and prognosis… She’s an active, strong, independent, healthy 26 year old female, who felt severe back pain while in the shower, and couldn’t walk withing a matter of a few hours. How does this happen, and where do we go from here?!

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