Physical Health Conditions in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury Across 21 Countries Worldwide

Vegard Strøm*, Grethe Månum, Mohit Arora, Conran Joseph, Athanasios Kyriakides, Marc Le Fort, Rutger Osterthun, Brigitte Perrouin-Verbe, Karin Postma, James Middleton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVES: To describe the 3-month prevalence and correlates of self-reported physical health conditions in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) worldwide. STUDY DESIGN: Multinational cross-sectional survey. SUBJECTS: Community-living persons with traumatic or non-traumatic SCI aged >18 years from 21 countries representing all the 6 World Health Organization regions. METHODS: The study used data from 11,058 participants in the International SCI Community Survey (InSCI). The survey, based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Core Sets for SCI, was conducted in 2017-19 simultaneously in the participating countries. The health conditions were reported on a modified version of the SCI Secondary Conditions Scale. RESULTS: Overall, 95.8% of the participants reported having experienced 1 or more health problems secondary to SCI. Having pain was the most prevalent problem (77.3%), followed by spasticity/muscle spasms (73.5%) and sexual dysfunction (71.3%), and the least prevalent was respiratory problems (28.8%). The participants reported a mean of 7.4 concurrent health conditions. Unmet healthcare needs, being a smoker, being a female, having a complete lesion, and a traumatic injury exhibited significant associations with comorbidity. CONCLUSION: Physical health problems secondary to SCI are extremely common worldwide and demand investment in appropriate management, medical care and preventative measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjrm00302
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is based on data from the International Spinal Cord Injury (InSCI) Community Survey, providing the evidence for the Learning Health System for Spinal Cord Injury (LHS-SCI, see Am J Phys Med Rehabil 25 2017;96(Suppl):S23–S34). The LHS-SCI is an effort to implement the recommendations described in the WHO report International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury (Bickenbach J et al. Geneva: WHO Press; 2013). The members of the InSCI Steering Committee are: Julia Patrick Engkasan (ISPRM representative; Malaysia), James Middleton (ISCoS representative; Member Scientific Committee; Australia), Gerold Stucki (Chair Scientific Committee; Switzerland), Mirjam Brach (Representative Coordinating Institute; Switzerland), Jerome Bickenbach (Member Scientific Committee; Switzerland), Christine Fekete (Member Scientific Committee; Switzerland), Christine Thyrian (Representative Study Center; Switzerland), Linamara Battistella (Brazil), Jianan Li (China), Brigitte Perrouin-Verbe (France), Christoph Gutenbrunner (Member Scientific Committee; Germany), Christina-Anastasia Rapidi (Greece), Luh Karunia Wahyuni (Indonesia), Mauro Zampolini (Italy), Eiichi Saitoh (Japan), Bum Suk Lee (Korea), Alvydas Juocevicius (Lithuania), Nazirah Hasnan (Malaysia), Abderrazak Hajjioui (Morocco), Marcel W.M. Post (Member Scientific Committee; The Netherlands), Anne Catrine Martinsen (Norway), Piotr Tederko (Poland), Daiana Popa (Romania), Conran Joseph (South Africa), Mercè Avellanet (Spain), Michael Baumberger (Switzerland), Apichana Kovindha (Thailand), Reuben Escorpizo (Member Scientific Committee; USA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Foundation for Rehabilitation Information. All rights reserved.


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