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Epidemiology of persistent iatrogenic spinal cord injuries in Western Norway

Journal article
Authors M. S. Aesoy
S. E. H. Solvang
M. Gronning
Tiina Rekand
Published in Brain and Behavior
Volume 6
Issue 10
ISSN 2162-3279
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Language en
Keywords complication, epidemiology, iatrogenic, injury, neurological disorders, spinal cord injury, risk-factors, cervical myelopathy, surgery, paraplegia, Behavioral Sciences, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Clinical Medicine


Objectives: Iatrogenic spinal cord injuries (SCIs) caused by invasive procedures or surgical interventions have previously been reported as case studies. The primary objective of this study was to investigate and analyze the incidence, etiology, and prognosis of iatrogenic SCI in Western Norway. Methods: Medical records of all 183 patients admitted to the SCU between 01.01.2004 and 31.12.2013 were reviewed. Gender, age, diagnosis, iatrogenic medical procedure, symptoms and findings before and after injury, mechanism of injury, level of injury, and ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) score prior iatrogenic SCI, at admittance and discharge were recorded, as were the length of the period prior to admittance and the length of stay. Results: Twenty-three (12.5%; 14 men, nine women) of 183 patients met the criteria for iatrogenic SCI. The annual incidence rate was estimated 2,3 per 1,000,000 (SD +/-1.0). Mean age at iatrogenic SCI was 55.5 years (range 16-79 years). Intervention for cervical spinal stenosis was the leading cause of iatrogenic SCI, followed by operations on the aorta and spine. Iatrogenic SCIs was most frequently located on the thoracic level. The patients suffered from clinical incomplete injuries (AIS score C and D) both at admittance and discharge from the SCU. Most patients improved, but no patient recovered completely after SCI. Conclusion: Although the annual incidence rate of iatrogenic SCI is low in Norway, individual consequences are serious. Increased awareness of the causes of SCI may decrease the risk of iatrogenic SCI.

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