Health conditions in people with spinal cord injury: Contemporary evidence from a population-based community survey in Switzerland
Martin W.G. Brinkhof, Abdul Al-Khodairy, Inge Eriks-Hoogland, Christine Fekete, Timo Hinrichs, Margret Hund-Georgiadis, Sonja Meier, Anke Scheel-Sailer, Martin Schubert, Jan D. Reinhardt
Swiss Paraplegic Research, Guido A. Zäch Strasse 4, CH-6207 Nottwil, Switzerland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Health conditions in people with spinal cord injury are major determinants for disability, reduced well-being, and mortality. However, population-based evidence on the prevalence and treatment of health conditions in people with spinal cord injury is scarce.
Objective: To investigate health conditions in Swiss residents with spinal cord injury, specifically to analyse their prevalence, severity, co-occurrence, and treatment.
Methods: Cross-sectional data (n = 1,549) from the community survey of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury (SwiSCI) cohort study, including Swiss residents with spinal cord injury aged over 16 years, were analysed. Nineteen health conditions and their self-reported treatment were assessed with the spinal cord injury Secondary Conditions Scale and the Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire. Prevalence and severity were compared across demographics and spinal cord injury characteristics. Co-occurrence of health conditions was examined using a binary non-metric dissimilarity measure and multi-dimensional scaling. Treatment rates were also examined.
Results: Number of concurrent health conditions was high (median 7; interquartile range 4–9; most frequent: spasticity, chronic pain, sexual dysfunction). Prevalence of health conditions increased with age and was higher in non-traumatic compared with traumatic spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury specific conditions co-occurred. Relative frequencies of treatment were low (median 44%, interquartile range 25–64%), even for significant or chronic problems.
Discussion: A high prevalence of multimorbidity was found in community-dwelling persons with spinal cord injury. Treatment for some highly prevalent health conditions was infrequent.
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