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Metastatic spinal cord compression: a review of practice and care.

Kilbride, Lynn; Cox, Marie; Kennedy, Catriona M.; Lee, Siew Hwa; Grant, Robin


Lynn Kilbride

Marie Cox

Robin Grant


If you wish to read an English version of this article please contact Siew Hwa Lee. Aim and objectives: The aim of this review was to address: (1) How is spinal stability assessed? (2) What is the role of bracing/should braces be used? (3) When is it safe to mobilise the patient? (4) What position should the patient be nursed in? Background: Controversy surrounds the care for patients with metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC). There is some evidence to indicate that care for patients with MSCC is based on individual clinician preference rather than evidence-based guidelines which has been shown to cause delays and discrepancies in patient treatment. Design: A structured literature review to synthesise the available evidence about the management of MSCC. Methods: The following databases were searched: Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Systematic Reviews Database, SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network), NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), AMED (Allied and Complementary Medicine), CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) and BNI (British Nursing Index). Publications were selected from the past 10 years. The search yielded a total of 1057 hits, 755 abstracts were screened, and 73 articles were retrieved and examined. Thirty-five articles were included. Results: The findings identified a gap and evidence relating to spinal stability, bracing, patient mobilisation, and positioning is limited and may be inconclusive. It is important for patients with a poor prognosis that their preferences and quality of life are considered. Conclusion: Currently, the evidence base to underpin care is limited, and further research in this area is necessary for patients and healthcare professionals alike. Relevance to clinical practice: Patients who suffer from MSCC suffer numerous physical, psychological and social issues. Because of lack of consensus, the current guidelines to inform clinical decision-making of professional staff are of limited benefit.


KILBRIDE, L., COX, M., KENNEDY, C.M., LEE, S.H. and GRANT, R. 2010. Metastatic spinal cord compression: a review of practice and care. Journal of clinical nursing [online], 19(13-14), pages 1767-1783. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 14, 2010
Online Publication Date Jun 14, 2010
Publication Date Jul 1, 2010
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2016
Journal Journal of clinical nursing
Print ISSN 0962-1067
Electronic ISSN 1365-2702
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 13-14
Pages 1767-1783
Keywords Cancer; Clinical guidelines; Evidence based practice; Nurses; Nursing; Systematic review
Public URL


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