Study design: Literature review.
Objectives: Update the global maps for traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) and incorporate methods for extrapolating incidence data.
Setting: An initiative of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) Prevention Committee.
Methods: A search of Medline/Embase was performed (1959-Jun/30/2011). Enhancement of data-quality 'zones' including individual data-ranking as well as integrating regression techniques to provide a platform for continued regional and global estimates.
Results: A global-incident rate (2007) is estimated at 23 TSCI cases per million (179,312 cases per annum). Regional data are available from North America (40 per million), Western Europe (16 per million) and Australia (15 per million). Extrapolated regional data are available for Asia-Central (25 per million), Asia-South (21 per million), Caribbean (19 per million), Latin America, Andean (19 per million), Latin America, Central (24 per million), Latin America-Southern (25 per million), Sub-Saharan Africa-Central (29 per million), Sub-Saharan Africa-East (21 per million).
Discussion: It is estimated that globally in 2007, there would have been between 133 and 226 thousand incident cases of TSCI from accidents and violence. The proportion of TSCI from land transport is decreasing/stable in developed but increasing in developing countries due to trends in transport mode (transition to motorised transport), poor infrastructure and regulatory challenges. TSCIs from low falls in the elderly are increasing in developed countries with ageing populations. In some developing countries low falls, resulting in TSCI occur while carrying heavy loads on the head in young people. In developing countries high-falls feature, commonly from trees, balconies, flat roofs and construction sites. TSCI is also due to crush-injuries, diving and violence.
Conclusion: The online global maps now inform an extrapolative statistical model, which estimates incidence for areas with insufficient TSCI data. The accuracy of this methodology will be improved through the use of prospective, standardised-data registries.