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Accession No.:


Top Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):

, 26, 4, 253-260


Objectives: To investigate the relationship between early trauma indicators and neurologic recovery after traumatic SCI using standardized outcome measures from the ISNCSCI examination and standardized functional outcome measures for rehabilitation populations.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of merged, prospectively collected, multicenter data from the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) database and institutional trauma databases from five academic medical centers across the United States. Functional status at inpatient rehabilitation discharge and change in severity and level of injury from initial SCI to inpatient rehabilitation discharge were analyzed to assess neurologic recovery for patients with traumatic SCI. Linear and logistic regression with multiple imputation were used for the analyses.

Results: A total of 209 patients were identified. Mean age at injury was 47.2 ± 18.9 years, 72.4% were male, 22.4% of patients had complete injuries at presentation to the emergency department (ED), and most patients were admitted with cervical SCI. Mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 124.1 ± 29.6 mm Hg, mean ED heart rate was 83.7 ± 19.9 bpm, mean O2 saturation was 96.8% ± 4.0%, and mean Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 13.3 ± 3.9. The average Injury Severity Score (ISS) in this population was 22.4. Linear regression analyses showed that rehabilitation discharge motor FIM was predicted by motor FIM on admission and ISS. Requiring ventilatory support on ED presentation was negatively associated with improvement of ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) grade at rehabilitation discharge compared with AIS grade after initial injury. Emergency room physiologic measures (SBP, pulse, oxygen saturation) did not predict discharge motor FIM or improvement in AIS grade or neurological level of injury.

Conclusion: Our study showed a positive association between discharge FIM and ISS and a negative association between ventilatory support at ED presentation and AIS improvement. The absence of any significant association between other physiologic or clinical variables at ED presentation with rehabilitation outcomes suggests important areas for future clinical research.


Chloe Slocum, Cristina Shea, Richard Goldstein, Ross Zafonte

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