The Stockholm Spinal Cord Injury Study (SSCIS) is an extensive evaluation of a sample of 353 subjects with traumatic SCI, constituting 93% of the known regional prevalence population with this diagnosis. In a previous analysis of this group, symptoms such as pain, incontinence, sexual dysfunction and neurological deterioration, as well as secondary complications, such as decubitus ulcers, urinary tract infections, spinal deformity and fractures, were found to be common. In the present report, we investigate associations between a few commonly used patient characteristics, ie gender, age at injury, duration of injury and extent of neurological compromise, and the occurrence of such problems, to assess differences in vulnerability in SCI subgroups. Results generally indicate an increased vulnerability in subjects with extensive neurological deficits, as well as a cumulation of complications with the increasing duration of injury. However, some exceptions are found, possibly indicating differences in temporal patterns of the occurrence of various complications, as well as certain gender-, age-, and lesion-associated variations in vulnerability. Symptoms directly related to the spinal cord lesion, eg neurogenic pain and neurological deterioration, seem to present rather soon post-injury. Males are more prone to experience excessive spasticity and sexual problems. Females experience more fractures and spinal deformity. Younger age at injury is associated with more spinal deformity but less severe pain problems. Higher age at injury is not found to be associated with more medical problems, with the exception of neurogenic pain, among post-acute, post-discharge survivors. The latter finding does not, however, preclude more such problems in the acute stage, since the present study neither addresses the pre-discharge period, nor includes information about mortality. Finally, the ASIA/IMSOP Impairment Scale Grade E-rated subjects were found to report problems to an extent that underlines the restricted sensorimotor sense in which this rating reflects recovery.
1995. Vol. 33, no 10, 585-594 p.