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Article
August 1987

Seven-Year Survival Following Spinal Cord Injury

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(8):872-875. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520200074023
Abstract

• This retrospective study of 5131 persons who sustained a spinal cord injury between 1973 and 1980 sought to determine the overall seven-year survival rate and the effect of several prognostic factors on survival. All study subjects had been treated at one of seven federally designated Model Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care Systems and each had survived at least 24 hours after injury. The cumulative seven-year survival was 86.7%. Advancing age at time of injury and being rendered a neurologically complete quadriplegic were significant prognostic factors. The cumulative seven-year survival among neurologically complete quadriplegics who were at least 50 years of age when injured, was only 22.7%. Spinal cord injury mortality rates ranged from 3.26 to 20.78 times higher than corresponding rates for nonspinal injured persons. Although mortality rates for spinal cord injury patients have declined dramatically since World War II, life expectancies for these patients are still substantially below normal.

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