Objectives To describe and compare epidemiologic characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with nontraumatic spinal cord dysfunction according to etiology. Design Retrospective, multicenter open-cohort case series. Setting Spinal rehabilitation units (SRUs) in 9 countries. Participants Patients (N=956; men, 60.8%; median age, 59.0y [interquartile range, 46-70.0y]; paraplegia, n=691 [72.3%]) with initial onset of spinal cord dysfunction consecutively admitted between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2010. Interventions Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Etiology of spinal cord dysfunction, demographic characteristics, length of stay (LOS) in rehabilitation, pattern of spinal cord dysfunction onset, discharge destination, level of spinal cord damage, and the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade on admission and discharge. Results The most common etiologies were degenerative (30.8%), malignant tumors (16.2%), infections (12.8%), ischemia (10.9%), benign tumors (8.7%), other vascular (8.5%), and other conditions (12.1%). There were major differences in epidemiologic characteristics and clinical outcomes of patients with different etiologies of spinal cord dysfunction. Paraplegia was more common in patients with a malignant tumor and vascular etiologies, while tetraplegia was more common in those with a degenerative etiology, a benign tumor, and infections. Patients with a malignant tumor tended to have the shortest LOS in the SRU, while those with a vascular etiology tended to have the longest. Except for patients with a malignant tumor, all patient groups had a significant change in their AIS grade between admission and discharge. Conclusions This international study of spinal cord dysfunction showed substantial variation between the different etiologies regarding demographic and clinical characteristics, including changes in AIS between admission and discharge.
- Outcome and process assessment (health care)
- Spinal cord diseases
- Spinal cord injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation