Content » Vol 45, Issue 10

Original report

Secondary health conditions in persons with spinal cord injury: A longitudinal study from one to five years post-discharge

Jacinthe J.E. Adriaansen, Marcel W.M. Post, Sonja de Groot, Floris W.A. van Asbeck, Janneke M. Stolwijk-Swüste, Marga Tepper, Eline Lindeman
Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine, De Hoogstraat Rehabilitation, 3583 TM Utrecht, The Netherlands
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1207


Objective: To assess the occurrence of secondary health conditions and their potential risk factors in persons with spinal cord injury from 1 to 5 years after discharge from initial inpatient rehabilitation.
Design: Multicentre longitudinal study.
Subjects: A total of 139 wheelchair-dependent persons with spinal cord injury.
Methods: The occurrence of secondary health conditions and their potential risk factors were assessed in a clinical interview with a rehabilitation physician at 1 and 5 years after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and by a telephone interview 2 years after discharge. Self-report questionnaires were used for the assessment of musculoskeletal and neuropathic pain.
Results: Neuropathic pain (83.7–92.1%), musculoskeletal pain (62.3–87.1%) and urinary tract infection (56.5–58.9%) were the most frequently reported secondary health conditions. The occurrence of several secondary health conditions was higher among women and individuals with a complete lesion, tetraplegia, and with a higher body mass index.
Conclusion: Secondary health conditions are common in the first years post-discharge following spinal cord injury, and their course seems to be relatively stable. These results emphasize the number of health issues that must be considered during post-injury care of persons with spinal cord injury
living in the community, and the importance of a well-coordinated interdisciplinary approach from specialized rehabilitation centres.

Lay Abstract


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