Secondary conditions following spinal cord injury in a population-based sample

Spinal Cord. 1998 Jan;36(1):45-50. doi: 10.1038/


This prospective study investigates the frequency of both medical and non-medical complications reported by the population based cohort of SCI survivors reported to the Colorado Spinal Cord Injury Early Notification System (ENS). Persons reported to the ENS between January 1 1986 and December 31 1993, representing the broad spectrum of all severities of spinal cord injury and potential complications, were solicited to participate in comprehensive follow-up interviews at their first, third and fifth year post injury. Hospitalizations of a week or longer were experienced by more than 10% of the participants at each of the three interview years. Similarly, the medical complications of spasticity or pain were reported by more than 25% of the participants, and pressure sores were reported by more than 10% at all three time periods. The chief non-medical complications (conditions) were financial concerns and transportation problems. Although these reported medical and non-medical complications present significant obstacles to be overcome, less than three percent of those surveyed at any of the time periods reported experiencing depression; and only 14% rated their quality of life as being poor.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / economics
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology*