To describe and compare patient demographics, inpatient lengths of stay (LOS), and walking-related functional outcomes of individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) of traumatic (TSCI) and non-traumatic (NTSCI) etiologies. To contrast these features between individuals who walked from those who did not walk at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.
Prospective observational study; comparisons between TSCI and NTSCI, walkers and non-walkers. Information collected as a pilot project within a provincial SCI informatics strategy.
Rehabilitation hospital specialized for SCIs.
Adults with NTSCI (n = 31) or TSCI (n = 59) admitted to inpatient rehabilitation, 2007–2009.
Lower-extremity motor scores (LEMS), spinal cord independence measure version III (SCIM-III) total and mobility subscores, functional independence measure (FIM), Length of Stay (LOS) at inpatient facilities.
Groups (NTSCI vs. TSCI) did not differ in the proportion of individuals that achieved “walker” status (SCIM-III mobility indoors (MI) score ≥3 at rehab discharge) (P = 0.41, 48.9% overall). Inpatient LOS at both acute care and rehabilitation facilities did not differ between groups; however, TSCI non-walkers had longer inpatient rehabilitation LOS than TSCI walkers. Among walkers, improvement was shown on all three mobility subscores of the SCIM-III between admission and discharge from rehabilitation; highest significance was shown on the SCIM-III MI. Walking status at discharge (SCIM-III MI) was most strongly correlated with LEMS at rehab admission (r = 0.71, P < 0.001).
Walking outcomes are comparable among individuals with NTSCI vs. TSCI admitted for specialized SCI rehabilitation. Routine use of SCIM-III mobility items for assessment of walking outcome is recommended for inpatient rehabilitation.