ASIA Grading System for Catastrophic Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord plays a vital role in relaying messages between the brain and other parts of the human body, so trauma to the back can lead to devastating consequences. Accidents are the top reason for these injuries, according to the United Spinal Association. Approximately 17,700 victims suffer spinal cord injuries every year, with motor vehicle accidents accounting for almost 40%. Falls comprise around 32%, while intentional violence and medical malpractice round out the list.

Like injuries to other parts of the body, trauma to the spinal cord ranges widely in terms of severity. Some victims will fully recover, but others suffer permanent disabilities and long-term complications that require them to rely on others for care. The implications are closely related to a grading system for spinal cord injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for these losses, so it is important to consult with an Anchorage serious and catastrophic injuries lawyerabout options. An overview also explains how medical professionals rank spinal cord trauma.

ASIA Spinal Cord Injury Grading System

Researchers from the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) established the letter-based grading scale, which ranges from the most to least serious. Complete spinal cord injury, in which there is no sensory or function, is ASIA A; a fully normal spinal cord with no trauma is ASIA E.

The biggest ranges in terms of severity are within the category of incomplete spinal cord injury, where there is some function, movement, and sensation below the location of the trauma. These levels in the ASIA grading system include:

  • B: Some loss of sensation, complete function loss;
  • C: Motor function is incomplete, with limitations on movement in less than half of muscle groups; and,
  • D: Incomplete function, but more than half of muscle groups are affected.

When to Seek Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

In cases of an obvious complete spinal cord injury, it is critical to call 911 before taking any action. Movement could lead to worse medical outcomes, but a dispatcher will guide you in what to do. Keep in mind the following symptoms when assessing whether to head to the ER or urgent care center:

  • Tingling in the extremities;
  • The feeling of pressure or discomfort in the thorax, i.e., the spinal region at the upper torso;
  • Loss of sensation in certain parts of the body;
  • Lack of function with bodily systems, particularly control over bowels and urine;
  • Difficulty breathing; and,
  • Pain or pressure in the neck or head;

Another important point is that some symptoms may not develop right away. Even if you are not experiencing immediate pain, seek prompt medical treatment for spinal cord injuries.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with an Alaska Catastrophic Injury Attorney

After getting the treatment you need for accidental spinal cord injuries, your next priority is getting help with your legal options. To learn more about remedies, please contact Power & Power Law to schedule a no-cost consultation. You can reach our offices in Anchorage, Alaska, by calling 907-222-9990 or going online.