Number of traumatic spinal cord injuries increase in US
The incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury has increased among older adults, who also experience worse outcomes compared with younger adults, according to a recently published study.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins analyzed a nationally representative sample of 43,137 adults treated in hospital emergency rooms for spinal cord injury in the United States between 2007 and 2009. Overall, the researchers found that the cumulative incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury increased from 79.4 million older adults in 2007 to 87.7 by the end of 2009. However, among younger adults, the incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury remained steady.Researchers found 41.5% of traumatic spinal cord injuries were caused by falls, followed by motor vehicle crashes at 35.5%. During the study period, emergency department charges increased by 20% and death occurred in 5.7% of patients, with older adults having higher adjusted odds of mortality in the emergency department, mortality during hospitalization and discharge to chronic care compared to younger adults.
“We have demonstrated how costly traumatic spinal cord injury is and how lethal and disabling it can be among older people. It is an area that is ripe for prevention,” Shalini Selvarajah, MD, MPH, a postdoctoral surgical research fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, stated in a press release. “With so much emphasis on trying to reduce health care costs right now, this is another reason why preventing the injury altogether is so vital.”
Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.