Cervical spinal cord injury is a serious clinical condition characterized by damage to segments C1 to C7 of the spinal cord. Trauma to cervical segments is associated with the most destructive consequences such as quadriplegia, loss of respiratory, autonomic system function etc.
If cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) is suspected, hemodynamic stability is an initial priority . An assessment of respiratory and cardiovascular functions should be done afterward. Firstly, a historical data about concomitant chronic pulmonary and circulatory diseases should be collected as they may interfere with vital laboratory data results .
Cervical segments of the spinal cord are responsible for delivering autonomic commands and regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory system, impairment in these systems should always be suspected. For pulmonary function assessment, it is important to consider the frequency of respiration, the involvement of abdominal and accessory respiratory muscles in breathing, the mobility of chest wall and possible injuries to it e.g. pneumothorax, hemothorax. In auscultation investigate lungs for abnormal sounds and impaired functioning. To measure blood oxygenation, perform ABG analysis and pulse oximetry .
When judging circulatory functions, the possibility of damage to the autonomic system should cause alertness for likely hemorrhagic or neurogenic shock. As nervous system conduit is impaired, the typical signs of shock e.g. vasoconstriction may be absent .
On examination of the neck, physicians should look for signs that could indicate an injury to the spinal cord, like hematomas, inflammation (redness, swelling), pain, tenderness and potential interruption of vertebral alignment. It is recognized, that clinical examination, although reliable, is prone to error and further radiologic investigations are essential  .
To determine the location of injured segments, a standardized evaluation method like International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI) is available. It is widely used and recognized , and provides information about motor, sensory and neurologic outcomes of the SCI . Sensory characteristics are graded using pinching maneuver or abrasion on various dermatomes innervated by certain root nerves . Motor functions are graded performing flexion, extension, as well as specific movements of muscle groups (myotomes) innervated by the certain nerves. Evaluation of type of SCI, whether it is complete or incomplete is also possible with ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) .
Patients with cervical SCI can develop a constellation of syndromes associated with the injury, some of them are described here. Central cord syndrome is the most common and is combined with weakness in upper and lower limbs  . Brown-Sequard syndrome is derived from a spinal cord lesion dividing it in half and is characterized as ipsilateral loss of sensation .
Spinal cord injury can be primary (from trauma) as well as secondary (from consequent edematous or hemorrhagic compression), for that reason radiographic imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are necessary. Diagnostics are necessary for distinguishing the location of the lesion, its size, and signs of compression for further treatment.