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July 2, 1982

Infectious Complications in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury

Author Affiliations

Hospital Infections Program Center for Infectious Diseases Centers for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1982;248(1):83-84. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330010057034

Patients with spinal cord injury present a major challenge in medical management. Those who survive the trauma and complications surrounding the acute injury may be faced with lifelong disability. Although the chronic disability itself is not progressive, the associated complications compound the disability and may result in early death. Infection is a frequent and significant complication of spinal cord injury. During the first half of this century, mortality in these patients was as high as 8096 within two years of injury; infection—including urinary tract sepsis, pneumonia, and septicemia from decubitus ulcers—caused or contributed to death in most of these patients.1

Since World War II, the development of regional, multidisciplinary centers for the care of patients with spinal cord injury has substantially improved the initial management of this problem and decreased the frequency of infection and other complications.2 Sugarman and colleagues (p 66) present further evidence that treatment of