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Paraplegia. 1992 Sep;30(9):617-30.

Mortality, morbidity, and psychosocial outcomes of persons spinal cord injured more than 20 years ago.

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Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System, Craig Hospital, Englewood, Colorado.


Mortality, morbidity, health, functional, and psychosocial outcomes were examined in 834 individuals with long term spinal cord injuries. All were treated at one of two British spinal injury centres: the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital or the Regional Spinal Injuries Centre in Southport; all were 20 or more years post injury. Using life table techniques, median survival time was determined for the overall sample (32 years), and for various subgroups based on level and completeness of injury and age at injury. With the number of renal deaths decreasing over time, the cause of death patterns in the study group as it aged began to approximate those of the general population. Morbidity patterns were found to be associated with age, years post injury, or a combination of these factors, depending upon the particular medical complication examined. A current medical examination of 282 of the survivors revealed significant declines in functional abilities associated with the aging process. Declines with age also were found in measures of handicap and life satisfaction, but three quarters of those interviewed reported generally good health and rated their current quality of life as either good or excellent.

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