Spinal Cord, Aug 2021

Long term outcome of functional independence and quality of life after traumatic SCI in Germany

Florian Möller, Rüdiger Rupp, Norbert Weidner, Christoph Gutenbrunner, Yorck B Kalke, Rainer F Abel


Study design: Multicenter observational study. Objective: To describe the long-term outcome of functional independence and quality of life (QoL) for individuals with traumatic and ischemic SCI beyond the first year after injury. Setting: A multicenter study in Germany. Methods: Participants of the European multicenter study about spinal cord injury (EMSCI) of three German SCI centers were included and followed over time by the German spinal cord injury cohort study (GerSCI). Individuals’ most recent spinal cord independence measure (SCIM) scores assessed by a clinician were followed up by a self-report (SCIM-SR) and correlated to selected items of the WHO short survey of quality of life (WHO-QoL-BREF). Results: Data for 359 individuals were obtained. The average time passed the last clinical SCIM examination was 81.47 (SD 51.70) months. In total, 187 of the 359 received questionnaires contained a completely evaluable SCIM-SR. SCIM scores remained stable with the exception of reported management of bladder and bowel resulting in a slight decrease of SCIM-SR of −2.45 points (SD 16.81). SCIM-SR scores showed a significant correlation with the selected items of the WHO-QoL-BREF (p < 0.01) with moderate to strong influence. Conclusion: SCIM score stability over time suggests a successful transfer of acquired independence skills obtained during primary rehabilitation into the community setting paralleled by positively related QoL measurements but bladder and bowel management may need special attention.


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