Incidence, aetiology and injury characteristics of traumatic spinal cord injury in Stockholm, Sweden: a prospective, population-based update
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OBJECTIVES: To update the incidence rate, aetiology and injury characteristics of acutely-injured adults with traumatic spinal cord injury in Stockholm, Sweden, using international standards of reporting. Study design: Prospective, (regional) populationbased observation. SUBJECTS: Forty-nine consecutively enrolled individuals. METHODS: A surveillance system of newly-injured adults with traumatic spinal cord injury was implemented for an 18-month period. The International Spinal Cord Injury Core Data Set was used to collect data on those who survived the first 7 days postinjury. RESULTS: After an 18-month period, 49 incident cases were registered, of whom 45 were included in this study. The crude incidence rate was 19.0 per million, consisting mainly of men (60%), and the mean age of the cohort was 55 years (median 58). Causes of injury were almost exclusively limited to falls and transport-related events, accounting for 58% and 40% of cases, respectively. The incidence has remained stable when compared with the previous study; however, significant differences exist for injury aetiology (p = 0.004) and impairment level (p = 0.01) in that more fall- and transport-related spinal cord injury occurred, and a larger proportion of persons was left with resultant tetraplegia, in the current study, compared with more sport-related injuries and those left with paraplegia in the previous study. CONCLUSION: The incidence rate appeared to remain stable in Stockholm, Sweden. However, significant changes in injury aetiology and impairment-level post injury were found, compared with the previous study. There remains a need for developing fall-related prevention strategies in rehabilitation settings as well as in population-based programmes.