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J Spinal Cord Med. 2009;32(4):428-31.

Prevalence of spinal cord injury in Tehran, Iran.

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Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Sina Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



To determine the prevalence of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) in Tehran, Iran.


A population-based study was performed. In a random cluster sampling, 100 addresses were selected as the starting point of the survey for each cluster consisting of 25 households. To expand the geographic dimension of each cluster, the interviewers skipped 3 of 4 houses in gathering data for each study unit. Each person with traumatic SCI was evaluated initially by a nurse and then by a neurosurgeon by physical examination and spinal imaging at the hospital or at home.


Ninety-seven percent of all surveyed agreed to participate in the study (2425 households, or 9006 persons). Four cases of SCI were identified. The point prevalence of SCI was 4.4 [95% CI = 1.2-11.4] per 10,000 people. Over the 5-year period from january 2003 through January 2008, the reported incidence rate of SCI was 2.2 (95% CI = 0.27-8.00) per 10,000 people.


In this, the first published population-based study from Iran, the prevalence of traumatic SCI in Tehran ranged from 1.2 to 11.4 per 10,000 people. More research is required to determine the patterns and causes of SCI. Development of a nationwide SCI registry or surveillance system is fundamental to an understanding of the epidemiology, and hence the prevention, of this costly health problem.

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