Secondary health complications in an aging Canadian spinal cord injury sample

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Jul;87(7):545-55. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31817c16d6.


Objectives: This study describes self-reported incidence of secondary health complications (SHCs) and their associations with age, years postinjury (YPI), and impairment among a Canadian spinal cord-injured (SCI) cohort.

Design: Cross-sectional telephone survey methods were used to collect data on (1) sociodemographics, (2) impairment, (3) health status, and (4) self-reported SHCs on 781 adults >or=1 yr post-SCI living in Ontario, Canada.

Results: Logistic regression analyses were used to determine associations between self-reported incidences of SHCs with the following covariates: (1) age, (2) YPI, and (3) impairment. The odds ratios for cardiac complications, high blood pressure (HBP), and respiratory complications increased per year with age, whereas autonomic dysreflexia (AD), bladder infections, heterotopic ossification, psychological distress, and drug addiction decreased. The odds ratios for pressure ulcers, AD, and heterotopic ossification increased per YPI, whereas HBP, bowel problems, psychological distress, and depression decreased. Complete injuries were associated with bladder infections, pressure ulcers, and AD. Paraplegia was associated with HBP and bowel problems, and tetraplegia was associated with AD.

Conclusions: The findings provide some clarification on factors associated with the occurrence of SHCs after SCI and are useful for informing health-promotion planners, clinicians, and stakeholders regarding the odds of SHCs with aging or among specific impairment groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / epidemiology
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystitis / epidemiology
  • Cystitis / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / epidemiology
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / etiology
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Pressure Ulcer / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires