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Neoplastic vs. Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: An Inpatient Rehabilitation Comparison

McKinley, William O. MD; Huang, Mark E. MD; Tewksbury, Michael A. MBA

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: March/April 2000 - Volume 79 - Issue 2 - pp 138-144
Research Article: Spinal Cord Injury

Objective: To compare demographics, injury characteristics, and functional outcomes of patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression with those with traumatic spinal cord injuries.

Design: A prospective 5-yr comparison was undertaken comparing 34 patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression with 159 patients with traumatic spinal cord injury.

Results: Patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression were significantly older, more often female, and unemployed than patients with traumatic spinal cord injury. Neoplastic spinal cord compression presented more often with paraplegia involving the thoracic spine, and injuries were more often incomplete compared with traumatic spinal cord injury. Patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression had a significantly shorter rehabilitation length of stay compared with those with traumatic spinal cord injury. The neoplastic group had significantly lower FIM change scores. Both groups had similar FIM efficiencies and discharge to home rates.

Conclusions: Patients with neoplastic spinal cord compression have different demographic and injury characteristics but can achieve comparable rates of functional gains as their traumatic spinal cord injury counterparts. Although patients with traumatic injuries achieve greater functional improvement, patients with neoplasms have a shorter rehabilitation length of stay and comparable FIM efficiencies and home discharge rates.

From the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia Campus, Richmond, Virginia.

Reprints: William McKinley, MD, P.O. Box 980661, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA 23298.

Disclosures: Supported, in part, by the Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services to the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University (#H133N50015).

FIM™ is a trademark of the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation, a division of U B Foundation Activities, Inc.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.