Evolving Profile of Acute Spinal Cord Injury Demographics, Outcomes, and Surgical Treatment in North America: Analysis of a Prospective Multi-Center Dataset of 989 Patients

Aditya Vedantam*, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Theresa Williamson, James D. Guest, James S. Harrop, Charles H. Tator, Bizhan A. Aarabi, Michael G. Fehlings, Shekar N. Kurpad, Chris J. Neal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Changes in demography and injury patterns have altered the profile and outcome of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) over time. This study sought to describe recent trends in epidemiology and early clinical outcomes using the multi-center North American Clinical Trial Network (NACTN) for Spinal Cord Injury Registry. All participants with blunt acute traumatic SCI (n = 782) were grouped into three five-year time intervals from 2005 to 2019 (2005-2009, 2010-2014, and 2015-2019). Baseline demographics, clinical scores, medical co-morbidities, as well as early clinical outcomes were extracted. Categorical and continuous variables were analyzed to determine between-group differences. Subgroup analysis was performed for participants <50 and ≥50 years of age. Over the duration of the study period, there was an increase in age at presentation (p = 0.0077) as well as a greater incidence of falls as the mechanism of injury. Participants who were ≥50 years of age were more likely to sustain incomplete SCI (<0.0003) and central cord syndrome (< 0.0001). In the most recent period (2015-2019), a greater proportion of NACTN participants underwent surgery within 24 h of injury (63% vs. 41% vs. 41%, p = 0.0001). There was a statistically significant increase in cardiac complications (p < 0.0001) and decrease in pulmonary complications (p < 0.0001) during the study period. Data from the NACTN registry shows that the age of participants with acute SCI is increasing, falls have become the major mechanism of injury, and central cord injury is becoming increasingly prevalent. While early surgical intervention for acute SCI is more common in recent years, cardiac complications are more prevalent while pulmonary complications are less prevalent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1958
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Volume40
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • accidental falls
  • central cord syndrome
  • demographics
  • registries
  • spinal cord injury

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