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Open Access Health Conditions in People with Spinal Cord Injury: Contemporary Evidence from a Population-Based Community Survey in Switzerland

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Background: Health conditions in people with spinal cord injury are major determinants for disability, reduced well-being, and mortality. However, population-based evidence on the prevalence and treatment of health conditions in people with spinal cord injury is scarce.

Objective: To investigate health conditions in Swiss residents with spinal cord injury, specifically to analyse their prevalence, severity, co-occurrence, and treatment.

Methods: Cross-sectional data (n = 1,549) from the community survey of the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury (SwiSCI) cohort study, including Swiss residents with spinal cord injury aged over 16 years, were analysed. Nineteen health conditions and their self-reported treatment were assessed with the spinal cord injury Secondary Conditions Scale and the Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire. Prevalence and severity were compared across demographics and spinal cord injury characteristics. Co-occurrence of health conditions was examined using a binary non-metric dissimilarity measure and multi-dimensional scaling. Treatment rates were also examined.

Results: Number of concurrent health conditions was high (median 7; interquartile range 4–9; most frequent: spasticity, chronic pain, sexual dysfunction). Prevalence of health conditions increased with age and was higher in non-traumatic compared with traumatic spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury specific conditions co-occurred. Relative frequencies of treatment were low (median 44%, interquartile range 25–64%), even for significant or chronic problems.

Discussion: A high prevalence of multimorbidity was found in community-dwelling persons with spinal cord injury. Treatment for some highly prevalent health conditions was infrequent.

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Keywords: COMMUNITY SURVEY; COMORBIDITY; MULTIMORBIDITY; RISK FACTORS; SECONDARY HEALTH CONDITIONS; SPINAL CORD INJURY; TREATMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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