Document Detail

The evaluation of the inverted supinator reflex in asymptomatic patients.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20173681     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
STUDY DESIGN: A prospective study was undertaken over a 6-month period to determine the incidence of the inverted supinator reflex in asymptomatic, neurologically normal individuals. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study is to assess asymptomatic patients for the presence of the inverted radial reflex and to determine its clinical relevance. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The inverted radial reflex sign is commonly used in clinical practice to assess cervical myelopathy. It is unknown whether the sign correlates with the presence or severity of myelopathy, and no consensus exists regarding the significance of a positive sign in asymptomatic individuals. METHODS: Patients attending the Trauma Clinic at our institution were invited to participate. Each patient was examined neurologically and specifically for the presence or absence of the Babinski test, Hoffman's sign, the finger escape sign, static and dynamic Romberg's test, and the inverted supinator reflex. Patients were excluded if they had any history of neck pain, any history of neurosurgical procedure or spinal surgery, any known neurologic disorder or deficit, or if there was any outstanding medicolegal case. RESULTS: We examined 277 patients in 6-month period. The male to female ratio was 1.1:1. The mean age was 27 years (range, 16-78). The incidence of the inverted supinator reflex was 27.6% (75/271). Of the 75 positive patients, the inverted supinator reflex was present bilaterally in 39% (29/75). Nine of 75 patients (10%) had an associated positive Hoffman's sign but had no other signs suggestive of myelopathy. The proportion of patients with a positive inverted supinator reflex reduced with increasing age (Pearson correlation coefficient > 0.80). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that an isolated, inverted supinator reflex may be a variation of normal clinical examination. We believe that an isolated inverted supinator reflex, in the absence of other clinical findings, is not a reliable sign of cervical myelopathy; however, it must be interpreted with caution in the older patient.
Paul Kiely; Joseph F Baker; Sven O'hEireamhoin; Joseph S Butler; Motaz Ahmed; Darren F Lui; Brian Devitt; Alan Walsh; Ashley R Poynton; Keith A Synnott
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Spine     Volume:  35     ISSN:  1528-1159     ISO Abbreviation:  Spine     Publication Date:  2010 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-04-21     Completed Date:  2010-07-15     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7610646     Medline TA:  Spine (Phila Pa 1976)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  955-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Spinal Injuries Unit, Department of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery, Mater Misericordiae Univeristy Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin 7, Ireland.
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MeSH Terms
Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology
Middle Aged
Prospective Studies
Reference Values
Reflex, Abnormal*
Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnosis*,  physiopathology

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