Physical Health Conditions in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury Across 21 Countries Worldwide
Keywords:spinal cord injury, health conditions, comorbidity, prevalence
Objectives: To describe the 3-month prevalence and correlates of self-reported physical health conditions in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) worldwide.
Study design: Multinational cross-sectional survey.
Subjects: Community-living persons with traumatic or non-traumatic SCI aged >18 years from 21 countries representing all the 6 World Health Organization regions.
Methods: The study used data from 11,058 participants in the International SCI Community Survey (InSCI). The survey, based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for SCI, was conducted in 2017–19 simultaneously in the participating countries. The health conditions were reported on a modified version of the SCI Secondary Conditions Scale.
Results: Overall, 95.8% of the participants reported having experienced 1 or more health problems secondary to SCI. Having pain was the most prevalent problem (77.3%), followed by spasticity/muscle spasms (73.5%) and sexual dysfunction (71.3%), and the least prevalent was respiratory problems (28.8%). The participants reported a mean of 7.4 concurrent health conditions. Unmet healthcare needs, being a smoker, being a female, having a complete lesion, and a traumatic injury exhibited significant associations with comorbidity.
Conclusion: Physical health problems secondary to SCI are extremely common worldwide and demand investment in appropriate management, medical care and preventative measures.
More than 500,000 people experience a spinal cord injury (SCI) every year. Because of the impairments of having SCI, many experience co-occurrence of additional health conditions, called comorbidity. This study describes the 3-month prevalence, and associated factors of self-reported physical health conditions secondary to SCI across 21 countries worldwide. The study uses data from 11,058 adults with SCI participating in the International SCI Community Survey in 2017–19. The results showed that physical health problems secondary to SCI are extremely common worldwide. Having pain, muscle spasms/spasticity, sexual dysfunction and bowel dysfunction were the most common, all with rates above 70%. The participants experienced a mean of 7 concurrent health conditions in addition to their SCI. Those reporting unmet healthcare needs, being a smoker, female, and having a complete lesion were most at risk for having comorbidity. These findings demand investment in appropriate management, medical care and preventative measures.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Vegard Strøm, Grethe Månum, Mohit Arora, Conran Joseph, Athanasios Kyriakides, Marc Le Fort, Rutger Osterthun, Brigitte Perrouin-Verbe, Karin Postma, James Middleton
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