Impaired respiratory function and associations with health-related quality of life in people with spinal cord injury

Karin Postma, MWM Post, JA Haisma, Henk Stam, Michael Bergen, Hans Bussmann

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Study design: Follow-up measurement in a multicenter prospective cohort study. Objectives: To examine the prevalence of impaired respiratory function (pulmonary function and perceived respiratory function), the incidence of respiratory infection and the associations among these parameters in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) 5 years after initial inpatient rehabilitation. Second, we assessed associations between respiratory function and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Setting: Eight rehabilitation centers with specialized SCI units in the Netherlands. Methods: Measurements were performed 5 years after discharge of inpatient rehabilitation. Pulmonary function was determined by forced vital capacity (FVC) and perceived respiratory function by self-reported cough strength and dyspnea. HRQOL was measured using the Sickness Impact Profile 68 and the 36-item Short Form Health Survey. Results: One-hundred forty-seven people with SCI participated. Of this sample, 30.9% had impaired FVC, 35.9% poor or moderate cough strength, 18.4% dyspnea at rest and 29.0% dyspnea during activity. In the year before the measurements, 8.9% had had respiratory infection. FVC was associated with cough strength, but not with dyspnea. All respiratory function parameters were associated with social functioning, whereas other HRQOL domains were associated with dyspnea only. Conclusion: Five years after initial inpatient rehabilitation, impaired respiratory function and respiratory infection were common in people with SCI. More severely impaired respiratory function was associated with lower HRQOL.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)866-871
Number of pages6
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Research programs

  • EMC MUSC-01-46-01

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