Epidemiology of Spinal Cord Injuries

  • W. Köning
  • R. A. Frowein
  • R. Firsching
Part of the Advances in Neurotraumatology book series (NEUROTRAUMATOL., volume 2)


The incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI), defined as an injury resulting in paralysis or debilitating weakness as a consequence of trauma to the spinal cord, has been statistically analyzed within the last 25 years in several countries. Epidemiological data from the medical literature from 1960 to 1978 and recent studies were compiled by J. Kraus in 1980. In his critical evaluation, he gave an account of the methodological difficulties involved due to the variability of data collection and investigations as well as to lack of uniformity of terms and definitions.


Spinal Cord Injury Spinal Cord Lesion Acute Spinal Cord Injury Work Related Injury Spinal Cord Injury Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Albrand OW, Corkill G (1976) Broken necks from diving accidents. Am J Sports Med 4 (3): 107–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    AOK-Bundesverband (Krankheitsartenstatistik 1983 ), Bonn ( Germany ), FRG, 1985Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Benes V (1968) Spinal cord injury. Baillière, Tindall and Cassell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Botterell EH, Jousse AT, Kraus AS, Thompson MG (1975) A model for the future care of acute spinal cord injuries. Can J Neurol Sci 2 (4): 361–380Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bracken MB, Freeman DH, Hellenbrand K (1981) Incidence of acute traumatic hospitalized spinal cord injury in the United States, 1970–1977. Am J Epidemiol 113 (6): 615–622Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bruce DA, Schut L, Sutton LN (1984) Brain and cervical spine injuries occurring during organized sports activities in children and adolescents. Primary Care vol 11 Nr 1 pp 175–194Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burke DC (1977) Spinal cord injuries. Aust NZ J Surg 47: 166–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cheshire DJ (1968) The complete and centralised treatment of paraplegia. Paraplegia 6: 59–73Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clifton GL (1983) Spinal cord injury in the Houston-galveston area. Tex Med 79 (9): 55–57Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Donovan WH, Carter RE, Bedbrook GM et al. (1984) Incidence of medical complications in spinal cord injury: patients in specialised, compared with non-specialised centers. Paraplegia 22 (5): 282–290PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Eisenberg MG, Tierney DO (1985) Changing demographic profile of the spinal cord injury population: Implications for health care support systems. Paraplegia 23: 335–343Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eng Seng Tan (1985) The care of paraplegics and tetraplegics. Paraplegia 23: 159–163Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ekong CE, Tator CH (1985) Spinal cord injury in the work force. Can J Surg 28 (2): 165–167PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fine PR, Stafford MA, Miller JM, Stover SL (1976) Gunshot wounds of the spinal cord: a survey of literature and epidemiologic study of 48 lesions in Alabama. Ala J Med Sci 13 (2): 173–180PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fine PR, Kuhlemeier KV, De Vivo MJ, Stover SL (1979) Spinal cord injury: an epidemiologic perspective. Paraplegia 17 (2): 237–250Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fine PR, De Vivo MJ, Mc Eachran AG (1982) Incidence of acute traumatic hospitalized spinal cord injury in the United States, 1970–1977. Am J Epidemiol 115 (3): 475–479Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Frankel HL, Hancock DO, Hyslop G, Melzak J, Michaelis LS, Ungar GH, Vernon JDS, Walsh JJ (1969) The value of postural reduction in the initial management of closed injuries of the spine with paraplegia and tetraplegia. Paraplegia 7: 179–192PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gee RW, Sinha SN (1982) The epidemiology of spinal cord injuries in Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea Med J 25 (2): 97–99Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gehrig R, Michaelis LS (1968) Statistics of acute paraplegia and tetraplegia on a national scale. Switzerland 1960–1967. Paraplegia 6: 93–95Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Girard R, Minaire P, Castanier M, Berard E, Perrineriche B (1980) Spinal cord injury by falls. Paraplegia 18: 381— 385.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gjone R, Nordlie L (1978) Incidence of traumatic paraplegia and tetraplegia in Norway: a statistical survey of the years 1974 and 1975. Paraplegia 16 (1): 88–93.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Guttmann L (1973) Spinal cord injuries. Blackwell. Oxford London Edinburgh Melbourne.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Harris P (1985) Acute spinal cord injury patients—who cares? Paraplegia 23: 1–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hitchcock ER, Karmi MZ (1982) Sports injuries to the central nervous system. JR Coll Surg Edinb 27 (1): 46–49Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hoskins T (1979) Rugby injuries to the cervical spine in English schoolboys. Practitioner 223 (1335): 365–366PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Jacobson SA, Bors E (1970) Spinal cord injury in Vietnamese combat. Paraplegia 7 (4): 263–281Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kalsbeek WD, Mc Laurin RL, Harris BS, Miller JD (1980) The national head and spinal cord injury survey: major findings. J Neurosurg (Suppl) 53: 19–31Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kewalramani LS, Kraus JF, Sterling HM (1980) Acute spinal-cord lesions in a pediatric population: Epidemiological and clinical features. Paraplegia 18 (3): 206–219Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Key AG, Retief PJ (1970) Spinal cord injuries. An analysis of 300 new lesions. Paraplegia 7: 243–249Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kraus JF, Franti CE, Riggins RS, Richards D, Borhani NO (1975) Incidence of traumatic spinal cord lesions. J Chronic Dis 28 (9): 471– 492Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kraus JF (1980) Injury to the head and spinal cord. The epidemiological relevance of the medical literature published from 1960 to 1978. J Neurosurg (Suppl.) 53: 3 –10Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kraus JF (1980) A comparison of recent studies on the extent of the head and spinal cord injury problem in the United States. J Neurosurg (Suppl) 53: 35–43Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kuhn H, Zaech GA, Koechlin P, Urwyler A (1983) Comparison of spinal cord injuries in females and in males, 1979–1981, Basle. Paraplegia 21(3): 154–160Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kurtzke JF (1977) Epidemiology of spinal cord injury. Neurol Neurochir Psiquiatr 18 (2–3 Suppl): 187 –191Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Lifeso RM, Arabie KM, Kadhi SKM (1985) Fractures of the thoraco-lumbar spine. Paraplegia 23: 207–224Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    McCollough III NC, Green BA, Klose KJ, Goldberg ML, Klose C (1981) Spinal cord injury in South Florida. J. Florida MA 68 (12): 968–973Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Meinecke FW (1983) BG-Central office for paraplegic patients. Die BG, 1. Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH, Bielefeld, pp 1–7Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Meinecke FW (1984) Primary treatment of paraplegic patients. Unfallchirurgie 10: 152–158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Michaelis LS (1979) Epidemiology of spinal cord injury. In: Vinken PJ, Bruyn GW, Braakman R (eds) Handbook of clinical neurology, vol 25, 2. North-Holland Publishing Comp, Amsterdam Oxford, American Elsevier Publishing Co, New York, pp 141–143Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Minaire P, Castanier M, Girard R, Berard E, Deidier C, Bourret J (1978) Epidemiology of spinal cord injury in the Rhone-Alps Region, France, 1970–1975. Paraplegia 16 (1): 76–87Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mueller F, Blyth C (1982) Epidemiology of sports injuries in children. Clinics in Sports Medicine 1 (3): 343–352Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Norman RA, Grodin MA (1984) Injuries from break dancing. Am Fam Physician 30 (4): 109–112PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Peacock WJ, Shrosbree RD, Key AG (1977) A review of 450 stabwounds of the spinal cord. S Afr Med J 51 (26): 961–964PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Sances A, Mykelbust JB, Maiman DJ, Larson SJ, Cusick JF, Jodat RW (1984) The biomechanics of spinal injuries. In: Boume, JR (ed), Critical reviews in biomechical engineering, vol 11 ( 1 ) CRC Press, Boca Raton, FloridaGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Selecki BR, Ring IT, Simpson DA, Vanderfield GK, Sewell MF (1982) Trauma to the central and peripheral nervous systems: Part I: an overview of mortality, morbidity and costs: NSW 1977. Aust NZ J Surg 52 (1): 93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Simpson D, Antonio JD, North JB, Ring IT, Selecki BR, Sewell MF (1981) Fatal injries of the head and spine: epidemiological studies in New South Wales and South Australia. Med J Aust 2 (113): 660–664Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Sutton NG (1973) Injuries of the spinal cord: The management of paraplegia and tetraplegia. Butterworths, LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Sutton RA, Bentley M, Castree B, Mattinson R, Pattinson J, Smith R (1982) Review of the social situation of paraplegic and tetraplegic patients rehabilitated in the Hexham Regional Spinal Injury Unit in the North of England over the past four years. Paraplegia 20: 71–79PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Tator CH, Edmonds VE (1979) Acute spinal cord injury: analysis of epidemiologic factors. Can J Surg 22 (6): 575–578Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Tator CH, Rowed DW, Schwartz ML, Gertzbein SD, Bharatwal N, Barkin M, Edmonds VE (1984) Management of acute spinal cord injuries. Can J Surg 27 (3): 289–293Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Tator CH, Edmonds VE (1984) National survey of spinal injuries in hockey players. Can Med Assoc J 130 (7): 875–880Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Toe T (1978) Spinal injuries in Rangoon, Burma. Paraplegia 16 (1): 118–120Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Tongue JR (1977) Hang gliding injuries in California. J Trauma 17 (12): 898–902Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Torg JS, Das M (1985) Trampoline and minitrampoline injuries to the cervical spine. Clin Sports Med 4 (1): 45–60Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Watson N (1976) Pattern of spinal cord injury in the elderly. Paraplegia 14 (1): 36–40PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Watson N (1983) Spinal cord injury in the female. Paraplegia 21 (3): 143–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Young JS (1979) Spinal cord injury: Associated general trauma and medical complications. In: Thompson RA, Green JR (eds) Advances in neurology, vol 22. Raven Press, New York, pp 255–260Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Köning
    • 1
  • R. A. Frowein
    • 1
  • R. Firsching
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurochirurgische UniversitätsklinikCologneFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations