Spinal cord injury caused by stab wounds: incidence, natural history, and relevance for future research

McCaughey, E. J., Purcell, M., Barnett, S. C. and Allan, D. B. (2016) Spinal cord injury caused by stab wounds: incidence, natural history, and relevance for future research. Journal of Neurotrauma, 33(15), pp. 1416-1421. (doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4375) (PMID:26825180)

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Spinal cord injury caused by stab wounds (SCISW) results from a partial or complete transection of the cord, and presents opportunities for interventional research. It is recognized that there is low incidence, but little is known about the natural history or the patient's suitability for long-term clinical outcome studies. This study aims to provide population-based evidence of the demographics of SCISW, and highlight the issues regarding the potential for future research. The database of the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit (QENSIU), the sole center for treating SCI in Scotland, was reviewed between 1994 and 2013 to ascertain the incidence, demographics, functional recovery, and mortality rates for new SCISW. During this 20 year period, 35 patients with SCISW were admitted (97.1% male, mean age 30.0 years); 31.4% had a cervical injury, 60.0% had a thoracic injury, and 8.6% had a lumbar injury. All had a neurological examination, with 42.9% diagnosed as motor complete on admission and 77.1% discharged as motor incomplete. A total of 70.4% of patients with an American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) level of A to C on admission had an improved AIS level on discharge. Nine (25.7%) patients have died since discharge, with mean life expectancy for these patients being 9.1 years after injury (20–65 years of age). Patients had higher levels of comorbidities, substance abuse, secondary events, and poor compliance compared with the general SCI population, which may have contributed to the high mortality rate observed post-discharge. The low incidence, heterogeneous nature, spontaneous recovery rate, and problematic follow-up makes those with penetrating stab injuries of the spinal cord a challenging patient group for SCI research.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barnett, Professor Susan and Purcell, Mariel
Authors: McCaughey, E. J., Purcell, M., Barnett, S. C., and Allan, D. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of Neurotrauma
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN (Online):1557-9042
Published Online:29 January 2016

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