Nontraumatic spinal cord injury: An Italian survey

Antonietta Citterio, Marco Franceschini, Lorenzo Spizzichino, Arturo Reggio, Bruno Rossi, Giulia Stampacchia

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Citterio A, Franceschini M, Spizzichino L, Reggio A, Rossi B, Stampacchia G, for the Gruppo Italiano Studio Epidemiologico Mielolesioni. Nontraumatic spinal cord injury: an Italian survey. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:1483-7. Objective To describe the demographic and clinical characteristics and the clinical course of patients with nontraumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Design A multicenter prospective study. Setting Thirty-two rehabilitation centers in several Italian regions. Participants Patients with nontraumatic SCI (N=330) on first admission (February 1, 1997-January 31, 1999) to rehabilitation centers. Interventions Not applicable. Main outcome measures Indicators of rehabilitation process quality were efficient bladder and bowel management. The indica-tor of neurologic recovery was improvement in American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) level at discharge. The indicator of rehabilitation outcome was return home. Length of stay (LOS) was also measured as an indicator of the care process. Results Of the 330 patients, 30% exhibited an improvement in AIS classification at discharge, and 73% returned home. In multivariate analysis, a longer LOS was associated with vascular etiology, complete lesions, residence outside the district of the rehabilitation center, and presence of clinical complications. Neurologic improvement was related to incompleteness of the lesion and longer LOS. Factors predicting a return home were married status, incompleteness of lesion, clinical improvement, efficient bowel and bladder management, absence of pressure ulcers, and longer LOS. Conclusions Patients showed long waiting times between diagnosis and initiation of rehabilitation, a good chance of improvement on the AIS, and low rates of home returns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1483-1487
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Neurologic disorders
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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