Acute transverse myelopathy or ATM is a pathological condition of the spinal cord, which impairs the function of the spine. In this article, we will discuss about the various causes of ATM and how to manage the symptoms that arise due to Acute Transverse Myelopathy.


Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)


How Do We Define Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)?

Acute Transverse Myelopathy or ATM is clinically defined as an acute neurologic condition, which results in impairment of spinal cord function.(1) Acute Transverse Myelopathy does not have an etiological factor.


Causes of Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)

The major cause of Acute Transverse Myelopathy is spinal cord compression as a result of degenerative diseases of the spine; however, tumors or other masses can also result in Acute Transverse Myelopathy. Intraspinal tumors may originate in the spinal cord or compress it from outside.

Causes of Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)

Symptoms of Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)

Some Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM) Are As Follows:

  • Upper motor neuron signs like weakness, clumsiness
  • Hyperreflexia and positive Babinski sign
  • Sensory deficits
  • Bowel/bladder symptoms
  • Sexual dysfunction

Diagnosis of Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)

A novel method of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is used to confirm the presence of Acute Transverse Myelopathy.(2) This is a neurophysiological method in which the time required for neural impulse to cross pyramidal tracts beginning at cerebral cortex and ending at anterior horn cells of spinal cord is measured. This method typically identifies the level of spinal cord where myelopathy is actually located.

Treatment for Acute Transverse Myelopathy (ATM)

Spinal cord disorders are usually rare and difficult to treat. So, the main aim of treatment is control of symptoms by different means, mainly pharmacotherapy.


Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 25, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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