To re-evaluate practice patterns for methylprednisolone (MP) administration in patients with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) within the spinal surgery community across Canada five years after the publication of practice recommendations.
Canadian orthopedic and neurological spine surgeons were surveyed at their respective annual meetings about their practice of steroid administration for acute SCI by means of a questionnaire comprised of the same seven questions posed five years ago plus an additional question related to change of view.
Forty-two surgeons and twenty-one residents directly involved in the acute management of SCI completed the questionnaire. Seventy-six percent of spinal surgeons do not prescribe MP for SCI in sharp contrast to 76% who prescribed it five years ago. Of the 24% who use steroids, the NASCIS II dosing regimen is most commonly followed. One third of physicians continue to administer MP because of fear of litigation.
Over a five year period there has been a complete reversal in practice patterns of MP administration for SCI, along with an increased familiarity of the published literature. Attendance at meetings, participation in local group discussions, and peer-reviewed publications appear effective in altering practice preferences arising from peer pressure and even fear of litigation.
All clinics in Sweden (223) dealing with general, urologic, orthopaedic, and gynaecologic surgery were sent a questionnaire concerning their policy about prophylaxis against postoperative thromboembolism in 1982. The praxis was also compared with that obtained in a similar survey in 1977. 96% replied. 91% used some sort of specific prophylaxis which is significantly more than in 1977. Also a significantly larger number of patients were operated on with prophylaxis than in 1977 (25 vs 19%). The dominating methods were dextran 70 and low-dose heparin. Compared with 1977 peroral anticoagulation, low-dose heparin and mechanical methods had decreased significantly, low-dose heparin in combination with dihydroergotamine increased significantly and dextran showed an unchanged use.