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Majority of patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries develop adverse events during acute care

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The majority of patients recovering from traumatic spinal cord injuries developed an adverse event during acute hospital care at rates significantly higher than previously reported, according to results in a recently published study.

Researchers conducted a prospective cohort study including 171 patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries and complete Spine Adverse Events Severity System records discharged from the researchers’ institution between 2008 and 2010. All patients included in the study were also registered in the Rick Hansen SCI Registry, which included patients’ sociodemographic, injury, diagnosis, intervention and health outcomes data.

Of the patients analyzed, 77.2% experienced an adverse event (AE), with 14.6% who developed an intraoperative AE, and 73.7% who experienced a preoperative or postoperative AE.

Airway/ventilation complications, malposition of instruments not requiring revision and dural tears were the most common intraoperative AEs, according to the researchers. Overall, delirium, pneumonias, neuropathic pain, decubitus ulcers and urinary tract infections (UTIs) were the most common AEs observed in the study overall.

The researchers noted length of stay significantly increased the presence of UTIs by 1.7-times and of decubitis ulcers by 2.2-times more than patients without the AEs.

The researchers noted, however, that acute care AEs did not affect patients’ health-related quality of life at 1-year follow up. – by Robert Linnehan

Disclosure: Please see the full study for a list of all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

Street JT, et al. Spine J. 2015;doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.06.051.

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