Traumatic spinal cord injury in Italy 20 years later: current epidemiological trend and early predictors of rehabilitation outcome

Marco Franceschini, Jacopo Bonavita, Lorenzo Cecconi, Salvatore Ferro, Maria Cristina Pagliacci, for the Italian SCI Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design: Multicenter prospective observational study of people with acute traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) admitted to rehabilitation. Objectives: To update epidemiological characteristics of a TSCI Italian population and verify the impact of patient characteristics at admission on two outcomes: functional gain (SCIM III) and discharge destination. Setting: Thirty-one SCI centers for comprehensive rehabilitation in 13 Italian regions. Methods: All consecutive individuals admitted with acute TSCI were enrolled from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014; data were recorded on rehabilitation admission and discharge. Functional gain and discharge destination were identified as outcome measures and statistically analyzed with patient characteristics at admission to identify early outcome predictors. Results: Five hundred and ten individuals with TSCI met inclusion criteria; falls represented the most frequent etiology (45%). On admission, AIS A-B-C tetraplegia was reported in 35% of cases; AIS A-B-C paraplegia in 40%; AIS D paraplegia/tetraplegia in 25%. The majority were discharged home (72%). The mean (SD) SCIM gain was 38 ± 26 points. A predictive model was found for discharge setting: individuals with fall-related injuries, severe SCI (AIS A-B-C tetraplegia), tracheal cannula or indwelling catheter on admission, were less likely to be discharged home (OR 95% CI 0.15 [0.06, 0.35]). A model with a lower predictive power was found for SCIM gain, with lower score expected for females, older age, higher severity of SCI, a longer onset of injury admission interval (OAI), and mechanical ventilation on admission. Conclusions: Prognostic factors in early rehabilitation are still hard to identify, making it difficult to correctly approach customized rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-777
Number of pages10
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Traumatic spinal cord injury in Italy 20 years later: current epidemiological trend and early predictors of rehabilitation outcome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this