BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Cervical spondylosis may lead to spinal cord compression, poor vascular perfusion, and ultimately, cervical myelopathy. Studies suggest a neuroprotective effect of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors in the brain, but limited data exist regarding their impact on the spinal cord.PURPOSE: To investigate whether RAS blockers and other antihypertensive drugs are correlated with preoperative functional status and imaging markers of cord compression in patients with symptomatic cervical spondylosis.STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective observational study.PATIENT SAMPLE: Individuals with symptomatic degenerative cervical stenosis who underwent surgery.OUTCOME MEASURES: Imaging features of spinal cord compression and functional status (modified Japanese Orthopedic Association [mJOA] and Nurick grading scales).METHODS: 266 operative patients with symptomatic degenerative cervical stenosis were included. Demographic data, comorbidities, antihypertensive medications, and functional status (including mJOA and Nurick grading scales) were collected. We evaluated canal compromise, cord compromise, surface area of T2 signal cord change, and pixel intensity of signal cord change compared to normal cord on T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging sequences.RESULTS: Of 266 patients, 41.7% were women, 58.3% were men; median age was 57.2 years; 20.6% smoked tobacco; 24.7% had diabetes mellitus. 149 patients (55.8%) had hypertension, 142 (95.3%) of these were taking anti-hypertensive medications (37 angiotensin-II receptor blockers [ARBs], 44 angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and 61 other medications). Patients treated with ARBs displayed a higher signal intensity ratio (ie, less signal intensity change in the compressed cord area) compared to untreated patients without hypertension (p=0.004). Patients with hypertension had worse preoperative mJOA and Nurick scores than those without (p<0.001). In the multivariate analysis, ARBs remained an independent beneficial factor for lower signal intensity change (p=0.04), while hypertension remained a risk factor for worse preoperative neurological status (p<0.01).CONCLUSIONS: In our study, patients with hypertension who were treated with RAS inhibitors had decreased T2-weighted signal intensity change than untreated patients without hypertension. Patients with hypertension also had worse preoperative functional status. Prospective case-control studies may deepen understanding of RAS modulators in the imaging and functional status of chronic spinal cord compression.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.spinee.2019.12.002
View details for PubMedID 31821888