Content » Vol 42, Issue 3

Original report

Cardiovascular disease risk factors in persons with paraplegia: The Stockholm spinal cord injury study

Kerstin Wahman, Mark S. Nash, Ninni Westgren, John E. Lewis , Åke Seiger, Richard Levi
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0510


Objective: To examine cardiovascular disease risk factors and risk clusters in Swedish persons with traumatic wheelchair-dependent paraplegia.
Design: Prospective examination.
Subjects: A total of 135 individuals aged 18–79 years with chronic (≥ 1 year) post-traumatic paraplegia.
Methods: Cardiovascular disease risk factors; dyslipidemia, impaired fasting glucose, hypertension, overweight, smoking, and medication usage for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, were analyzed according to authoritative guidelines. Stepwise regression tested the effects of age, gender, and injury characteristics on cardiovascular disease risks.
Results: High-prevalence risk factors were dyslipidemia (83.1%), hypertension (39.3%), and overweight (42.2%) with pervasive clustering of these risks. Being older was related to increased cardiovascular disease risk, except for dyslipidemia. Hypertension was more common in low-level paraplegia. Prevalence of impaired fasting glucose was lower than previously reported after paraplegia. A high percentage of persons being prescribed drug treatment for dyslipidemia and hypertension failed to reach authoritative targets for cardiovascular disease risk reduction.
Conclusion: Swedish persons with paraplegia are at high risk for dyslipidemia, hypertension, and overweight. Impaired fasting glucose was not as common as reported in some previous studies. Pharmacotherapy for dyslipidemia and hypertension often failed to achieve recommended targets. Population-based screening and therapeutic countermeasures to these cardiovascular disease risks are indicated.

Lay Abstract


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