Complications Associated with High-dose Corticosteroid Administration in Children with Spinal Cord Injury

Jason M. Cage, Maj Jeffrey B Knox, Robert L. Wimberly, Steve Shaha, Chanhee Jo, Anthony I. Riccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Complications with high-dose steroid administration for spinal cord injury are documented in adult patients. Our purpose was to determine the incidence of early complications of this therapy in pediatric patients with spinal cord injuries. Methods: An IRB-approved retrospective review was performed for patients treated for spinal cord injury at a level 1 pediatric trauma center between 2003 and 2011. Demographic data, injury characteristics, and surgical interventions were documented. Complications were divided into 4 categories: infectious, gastrointestinal (GI), hyperglycemia/endocrine, and wound healing problems. Complication rates were compared using a Student's t test and Fischer's exact test. Results: Thirty-four spinal cord injury patients were identified. Twenty-three patients (mean age 6.6 y) in the treatment group received high-dose steroid treatment and 11 patients (mean age 8.4 y) did not and comprised the control group. No statistical difference was detected between the 2 groups regarding age, mechanism of injury, rate of surgical intervention, level of injury, and injury severity. Hyperglycemia was the most common complication and was present in all patients in both the treatment and control groups. The overall infection rate was 64% in the control group compared with 26% in the treatment (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • complication
  • high-dose steroids
  • infection
  • methylprednisolone
  • pediatric
  • spinal cord injury
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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