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Spinal Cord. 2007 Jun;45(6):437-43. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

Spinal cord and related injuries after attempted suicide: psychiatric diagnosis and long-term follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Prince of Wales Hospital and University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective analysis of acute spinal cord injuries (ASCI).

OBJECTIVES:

Determine incidence of ASCI due to suicide attempt from 1970 to 2000. Describe demographics, injuries, mental illness, functional outcomes and nature of subsequent deaths.

SETTING:

State spinal cord injury services, New South Wales, Australia.

METHODS:

Retrospective record review and follow-up interview.

RESULTS:

Of 2752 ASCI admissions, 56 were because of attempted suicide (55 falls, one gun-shot wound). Thirty-six males and 20 females. Median age 30 years (15-74). Most common levels of vertebral injury were C5 and L1. Twenty-three had complete spinal cord injury. Thirty-two had an Injury Severity Score of >15. Forty had more than one major injury. There was a significant rise in the incidence of ASCI following self-harm over time (Poisson regression, P=0.004). There was a significant change in scene of injury away from hospitals over time (chi (2) test, df=1, P=0.0001). Psychiatric diagnoses were personality disorder 27; schizophrenia 16; depression 14; chronic alcohol abuse 10; mood disorder 10; chronic substance abuse 10; other four. Follow-up was available in 47 cases (84%) at an average of 8 years. Four subsequent deaths were by suicide. Domiciliary arrangements were: home 28; hospital five; nursing home three; group home/hostel four.

CONCLUSIONS:

Community placement outcomes for survivors were good. Subsequent death by suicide was high. There was a significant rise in cases and a change in injury scene away from hospitals over time.

PMID:
17339888
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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