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The Evolving Profile of Acute Spinal Cord Injury Demographics, Outcomes and Surgical Treatment in North America: Analysis of a Prospective Multicenter Dataset of 989 Patients. J Neurotrauma 2022 Nov 30



Pubmed ID





Changes in demography and injury patterns have altered the profile and outcome of acute SCI over time. This study sought to describe recent trends in epidemiology and early clinical outcomes using the multi-center North American Clinical Trial Network (NACTN) for Spinal Cord Injury Registry. All participants with blunt acute traumatic SCI (n=782) were grouped into three 5-year time intervals from 2005 to 2019 (2005-2009, 2010-2014 and 2015-2019). Baseline demographics, clinical scores, medical co-morbidities, as well as early clinical outcomes were extracted. Categorical and continuous variables were analyzed to determine between-group differences. Sub-group analysis was performed for participants <50 and >= 50 years of age. Over the duration of the study period, there was an increase in age at presentation (p=0.0077) as well as a greater incidence of falls as the mechanism of injury. Participants who were >=50 years of age were more likely to sustain incomplete SCI (<0.0003) and central cord syndrome (<0.0001). In the most recent time period (2015-2019), a greater proportion of NACTN participants underwent surgery within 24 hours of injury (63% vs 41% vs 41%, p=0.0001). There was a statistically significant increase in cardiac complications (p<0.0001) and decrease in pulmonary complications (p<0.0001) during the study period. Data from the NACTN registry shows that the age of acute SCI participants is increasing, falls have become the major mechanism of injury and central cord injury is becoming increasingly prevalent. While early surgical intervention for acute SCI is more common in recent years, cardiac complications are more prevalent while pulmonary complications are less prevalent.

Author List

Vedantam A, Ugiliweneza B, Williamson T, Guest J, Harrop JS, Tator C, Aarabi B, Fehlings MG, Kurpad SN, Neal CJ


Shekar N. Kurpad MD, PhD Chair, Director, Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Aditya Vedantam MD Assistant Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin