Krause JS, Zhai Y, Saunders LL, Carter RE. Risk of mortality after spinal cord injury: an 8-year prospective study. Objective: To evaluate a theoretical model for mortality after spinal cord injury (SCI) by sequentially analyzing 4 sets of risk factors in relation to mortality (ie, adding 1 set of factors to the regression equation at a time). Design: Prospective cohort study of data collected in late 1997 and early 1998 with mortality status ascertained in December 2005. We evaluated the significance of 4 successive sets of predictors (biographic and injury, psychologic and environmental, behavioral, health and secondary conditions) using Cox proportional hazards modeling and built a full model based on the optimal predictors. Setting: A specialty hospital. Participants: Adults (N=1386) with traumatic SCI, at least 1 year postinjury, participated. There were 224 deaths. After eliminating cases with missing data, there were 1209 participants, with 179 deceased at follow-up. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Mortality status was determined using the National Death Index and the Social Security Death Index. Results: The final model included 1 environmental variable (poverty), 2 behavioral factors (prescription medication use, binge drinking), and 4 health factors or secondary conditions (hospitalizations, fractures/amputations, surgeries for pressure ulcers, probable major depression). Conclusions: The results supported the major premise of the theoretical model that risk factors are more important the more proximal they are in a theoretical chain of events leading to mortality. According to this model, mortality results from declining health, precipitated by high-risk behaviors. These findings may be used to target those who are at high risk for early mortality as well as to direct interventions to the particular risk factor.
- Life expectancy
- Spinal cord injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation