National Spinal Cord Injury Association Resource Center
Although there is more information available about people
who have a spinal cord injury than ever before, much of
it is incomplete. Some of the statistical data is
|Indiv. with Spinal Cord Injury||non-Spinal Cord Injured Indiv.|
|Unemployed||41.2% (includes: students, retired, and homemakers)|
People who return to work in the first year post-injury usually return to the same job for the same employer.
People who return to work after the first year post-injury either worked for different employers or were students who found work.
Since 1988, 45% of all injuries have been complete, 55% incomplete. Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and function below the injury level. Incomplete injuries result in partial loss. "Complete" does not necessarily mean the cord has been severed. Each of the above categories can occur in paraplegia and quadriplegia.
Except for the Incomplete-Preserved motor (functional), no more than 0.9% fully recover, although all can improve from the initial diagnosis.
Overall, slightly more than 1/2 of all injuries result in quadriplegia. However, the proportion of quadriplegics increase markedly after age 45, comprising 2/3 of all injuries after age 60 and 87% of all injuries after age 75.
92% of all sports injuries result in quadriplegia.
Most people with neurologically complete lesions above C-3 die before receiving medical treatment. Those who survive are usually dependent on mechanical respirators to breathe.
50% of all cases have other injuries associated with the spinal cord injury.
(Important: This section applies only to individuals who were admitted to one of the hospitals designated as "Model" SCI centers by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research.)
Only 10-15% of all people with injuries are admitted to the NIDRR SCI system. The remainder go to CARF facilities or to general hospitals in their local community.
|Acute Coverage||On-going Coverage (Many have more than one source.)|
There is no apparent relationship between severity of injury and nursing home admission, indicating that admission is caused by other factors (i.e. family can't take care of person, medical complications, etc.) Nursing home admission is more common among elderly persons.
Each year 1/3 to 1/2 of all people with SCI are re-admitted to the hospital. There is no difference in the rate of re-admissions between persons with paraplegia and quadriplegia, but there is a difference between the rate for those with complete and incomplete injuries.
Overall, 85% of SCI patients who survive the first 24 hours are still alive 10 years later, compared with 98% of the non-SCI population given similar age and sex.
The most common cause of death is respiratory ailment, whereas, in the past, it was renal failure. An increasing number of people with SCI are dying of unrelated causes such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, similar to that of the general population. Mortality rates are significantly higher during the first year after injury than during subsequent years.
We here at NSCIA are continually finding out about people who have lived 30, 40, and even 50 years after their injuries.
The Factsheet is provided as an information service to you and is not intended to be comprehensive. The data used in this Factsheet was compiled by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Birmingham. Any information you may have to offer to further update this Factsheet would be greatly appreciated. The National Spinal Cord Injury Association Resource Center (NSCIRC) provides information and referral on any subject related to spinal cord injury. Contact the resource center at 1-800-962-9629.
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