Current research indicates that more than half of patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) experience delays in transfer and receive surgery more than 24 hours post-injury. The objectives of this study were to determine the geographic distribution of tSCI in Canada relative to specialized treatment facilities, to assess clinical and logistical factors at play for indirect admissions to those facilities, and to explore differences in current time to admission and simulated scenarios in an attempt to assess the potential impact of changes to triage protocols. This study included data from 876 patients with tSCI enrolled in the prospectively collected acute Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR) between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013 who had data on the location of their injury. Patients transported directly to a RHSCIR acute facility were more likely to reach the facility within 1 h of injury while those transported indirectly were more likely to arrive 7 h later. Considering the injuries occurring within 40 km of a RHSCIR acute facility (n=323), 249 patients (77%) were directly and 74 (23%) were indirectly admitted. In the multivariate regression analysis, only older age and longer road distance remained significantly associated with being indirectly admitted to a RHSCIR facility. Compared to the current status, the median time to admission decreased by 20% (3.5 h) in the 100% direct admission scenario; and increased by 102% (8.9 h) in the 100% indirect admission scenario.
Keywords: Other; TRAUMATIC SPINAL CORD INJURY; spinal cord injury.