A literature review of worldwide epidemiology of spinal cord injury (SCI).
To review the epidemiological indicators of SCI, such as incidence, prevalence, demographic characteristics, etiology, level and severity of injury, complications and mortality.
The Department of Orthopaedics, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Heping District, Tianjin, People’s Republic of China.
We searched articles published in PubMed, Medline, EMBASE and the Web of Science between January 1993 and June 2017 using the key words “spinal cord injury”, “traumatic spinal cord injury”, “non-traumatic spinal cord injury” and “epidemiology”. The incidence, etiology, prevalence, patient demographics, level and severity of injury, complications and mortality were reviewed from the articles.
The epidemiology of SCI has changed. Motor vehicle accidents and falls have become the most common reasons of injury gradually. Incidence of SCI varies by regions or countries, and it has gradually increased with the expansion of human activities. The number of male patients were significantly more than female, the average age of patients with SCI had a tendency to increase gradually. The cervical level of spine was the most common part of injury; there were more number of patients with tetraplegia than patients with paraplegia. Electrolyte disturbances, pulmonary infections, urinary tract infections and bedsores were the four most common complications.
We must have a greater understanding of epidemiology to implement more preventative measures. The epidemiology in different regions is of significant difference, which may be resulted from economic, science and technology, medical, geographical and even social conditions. Therefore, we must establish appropriate intervention measures according to the particularity of population.