Journal:Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine - JSCM (formerly Journal of the American Paraplegia Society)
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):16, 39, 1, 24-31
Study determined the demographic and clinical profile of people who sustained spinal cord injury (SCI) as a result of accidental falls and documented the usual circumstances surrounding the fall-induced SCI. Participants were 6,408 individuals with traumatic SCI enrolled in 21 SCI Model Systems centers throughout the United States between 2005 and 2014. Twenty-nine percent of these patients (1,877) sustained injuries caused by falls. The external causes (mechanisms and circumstances) of injury were documented by the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, Clinical Modification. Results indicated that falls on the same level from slipping, tripping, and stumbling were the most common cause of fall-induced SCI (20 percent), followed by falls from building (16 percent), stairs and steps (16 percent), and ladder (9 percent). People who were 61 years of age and older had the highest frequency of falls on the same level, while those aged 16 to 45 years had a higher percentage of falls from buildings, usually work-related. The mechanisms of falls also varied by sex and race. Associated injury and vertebral injury occurred frequently among falls from buildings and ladders. High falls were more likely to be work-related and result in thoracic and complete injury, while low falls were more commonly associated with cervical and motor functionally incomplete injury. The findings of different mechanisms of falls by age, sex, race, and medical consequences provide an insight for future interventions aimed at high risk persons, activities, and environmental factors for preventing or reducing fall-induced SCI.