Age influences rehabilitative outcomes in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI)

Marco Franceschini, Humberto Cerrel Bazo, Fulvio Lauretani, Maurizio Agosti, M. Cristina Pagliacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: To define differences in rehabilitative outcome after Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), according to age at injury. Methods: This is a prospective, observational, follow-up study. Completion of a questionnaire administered by a psychologist through a telephone interview to subjects discharged about 4 years previously from 22 SCI centers in Italy, who had already participated in a prospective multicenter study. A total of 403 out of 511 patients with SCI (79%), discharged between 1997 and 1999 after comprehensive rehabilitation in SCI centers, who gave their consent to a telephone interview. Main outcome measures are: number of re-admissions and medical consultations for clinical problems during follow-up (FU) period, clinical outcome related to bowel/bladder function, family, sentimental and personal satisfaction, mobility, three-day autonomy, subjective feelings of dependency, subjective perception of quality of life. Results: The sample population was categorized into two subgroups according to severity on the Asia Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) scale by the ROC method: 276 subjects, the younger group were aged between 0 and 49 years, mean age 32 (±8 yrs), and 127 subjects in over 50 group, mean age 63 (±8 yrs). Differences in sample characteristics were found as regards cervical/dorsal lesion distribution and incompleteness of damage, more frequent in the older group. Incidence of hospital re-admissions and medical consultations, bladder autonomy, bowel autonomy and bowel continence were similar in both groups. Variables related to personal and social life, as well as life satisfaction, showed significant differences, with worse outcomes in the older group. Conclusions: Age at injury deserves major attention, as persons not yet in geriatric age may show greater vulnerability after SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Age
  • Follow-up
  • Outcome
  • Traumatic spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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