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February 1978

Survival After Spinal Cord Trauma: A Life Table Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Biometrics Division (Mr Mesard and Ms Carmody) and the Spinal Cord Injury Service (Drs Mannarino and Ruge), Veterans Administration, Washington, DC.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(2):78-83. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500260016003

• The records accruing from the care of spinal cord injury patients in hospitals of the Veterans Administration (VA) make available a unique opportunity to study survival rates of a large group. This study analyzes the survival experience of patients whose initial treatment in a VA hospital for trauma to the spinal cord occurred between Oct 1, 1955, and Sept 30, 1965. Life table methodology enabled survival rates to be calculated for various intervals after injury and allowed for maximum use of each patient's experience. Age at injury, level of lesion, and extent of paralysis were all found to be important factors in survival. High mortality occurs in the first three months regardless of age at injury or level of lesion. Of those paraplegic and quadriplegic patients who survived the first three months after injury, the ten-year survival rates are quite similar, 86% and 80%, respectively.

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