A multinational, multidisciplinary consensus for the diagnosis and management of spinal cord compression among patients with mucopolysaccharidosis VI

Guirish A. Solanki*, Tord D. Alden, Barbara K. Burton, Roberto Giugliani, Dafne D.G. Horovitz, Simon A. Jones, Christina Lampe, Kenneth W. Martin, Maura E. Ryan, Matthias K. Schaefer, Aisha Siddiqui, Klane K. White, Paul Harmatz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cervical cord compression is a sequela of mucopolysaccharidosis VI, a rare lysosomal storage disorder, and has devastating consequences. An international panel of orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, neuroradiologists, metabolic pediatricians, and geneticists pooled their clinical expertise to codify recommendations for diagnosing, monitoring, and managing cervical cord compression; for surgical intervention criteria; and for best airway management practices during imaging or anesthesia. The recommendations offer ideal best practices but also attempt to recognize the worldwide spectrum of resource availability. Functional assessments and clinical neurological examinations remain the cornerstone for identification of early signs of myelopathy, but magnetic resonance imaging is the gold standard for identification of cervical cord compression. Difficult airways of MPS VI patients complicate the anesthetic and, thus, the surgical management of cervical cord compression. All patients with MPS VI require expert airway management during any surgical procedure. Neurophysiological monitoring of the MPS VI patient during complex spine or head and neck surgery is considered standard practice but should also be considered for other procedures performed with the patient under general anesthesia, depending on the length and type of the procedure. Surgical interventions may include cervical decompression, stabilization, or both. Specific techniques vary widely among surgeons. The onset, presentation, and rate of progression of cervical cord compression vary among patients with MPS VI. The availability of medical resources, the expertise and experience of members of the treatment team, and the standard treatment practices vary among centers of expertise. Referral to specialized, experienced MPS treatment centers should be considered for high-risk patients and those requiring complex procedures. Therefore, the key to optimal patient care is to implement best practices through meaningful communication among treatment team members at each center and among MPS VI specialists worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Airway management
  • Cervical cord compression
  • Practice guideline
  • Spinal cord compression
  • Surgical decompression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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