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Stat Med. 1992 Jun 30;11(9):1171-86.

A model for estimating level and net severity of spinal cord injuries.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


Objective and detailed neurological assessments are essential in studies of the treatment and the epidemiology of acute spinal cord injuries. In practice, investigators use the expanded score, found by taking the total of the individual determinations, but this summary obscures important detail as to the level and the overall severity of injury. To address this issue, we present a method for estimating level and net severity of injury that makes use of isotonic regression and the Spearman-Kärber estimator. We describe the method for both sensory and motor assessments of neurologic function. In the special case where one gives an identical weight to the response at each level, these estimators algebraically partition the expanded score into separate contributions due to level and net severity. We provide a numerical example using data from the first National Acute Spinal Cord Injury Study, and we present a summary of the distribution of these parameters for this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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