REsearch Objectives and COmmon Data Elements for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

The AO Spine RECODE-DCM study has successfully achieved its goals to define the top research priorities for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM), agree on a name for the condition, and create a research toolkit with a minimum data set for researchers to use.

With the landmark study, AO Spine brought all stakeholders around the same table and took a leap towards accelerating knowledge discovery to improve patient outcomes. It's critical that scientist and funders now step in.

What is Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM)?

DCM is a condition in which degenerative arthritic changes in the neck (cervical) cause compression and impairment of the spinal cord (myelopathy).

  • In DCM, a spinal cord injury (SCI) happens in slow motion.
  • Whereas acute traumatic SCI is well recognized, public awareness of DCM is low.
  • DCM affects 2% of adults globally. As our population ages, incidence is rising.
  • DCM causes pain, disability and poor quality of life.
  • If diagnosed early, surgery can be beneficial, but recovery is often incomplete.
  • DCM has been known by other names including cervical stenosis, cervical spondylosis, and spondylotic myelopathy.
  • Progress is urgently required.

AO Spine RECODE-DCM Community

Selected leaders and experts are championing research priorities as part of the AO Spine RECODE-DCM Knowledge Translation and Implementation initiative. They raise awareness and understanding of DCM among clinicians, other health professionals, and the public, promote commitment from leading authorities worldwide and focus research on specific research priorities.

Find out how you can be a part of this global research initiative to make a difference to research and to people living with DCM.

Research toolkit

The AO Spine RECODE-DCM group created a ‘Research Toolkit’ to equip scientists with the tools to make their studies robust, comparable, and focused on the outcomes that matter most for people with DCM.

There are three components:

1. Top 10 Research Priorities, identified as the most important research questions.
2. A minimum dataset, to standardize outcome measures, making future studies robust and comparable.
3. An index term and definition for DCM, to enable a common language across the globe.

Research Priorities

We have created a list of top ten unanswered research questions, ranked through the James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership.

Minimum Dataset

We have created a standardized set of disease measurements that should be included in all DCM research.

Naming DCM

We have established a consensus definition of DCM to inform international classifications, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

AO Spine RECODE-DCM study outcomes

A summary of all supporting publications presenting data which informed the process can be found on our publications page.

Citing the AO Spine RECODE-DCM Research Priorities

To address the priorities, researchers require awareness of them. Please help to raise awareness among researchers by ensuring that all new DCM studies cite the research priorities correctly. This will help the worldwide DCM community to build on the solid foundation established by AO Spine RECODE-DCM.

Our team is a non-profit organisation founded to raise awareness of degenerative cervical myelopathy and support patients, carers and professionals who live and deal with it.