The effect of age on survival following traumatic spinal cord injury

Chad Prusmack, Adam S. Rochman, Allan D. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: We set out to determine how age affects short- and intermediate-term survival in patients seen acutely after SCI and to correlate this with the Injury Severity Score (ISS). Method: We collected data on all SCI patients admitted by the senior author (1997-2002). We calculated the survival rates at 30 and 365 days and compared survival rates for age groups as a function of ISS and ASIA scores. Chi-square tests and analyses of variance were used to evaluate data. Results: Follow-up was available in 131/138 patients. The mean age of patients with SCI was 44 years. 105 (76%) were <60 years, and 33 (24%) were ≥60. There was no statistically significant difference in sex, ASIA grade, ISS, or treatment modality between these two groups. There was a statistical difference in the level of injury, with injuries occurring in the cervical spine of 82% of patients ≥60 versus 60% of those <60 (p= .03). The 1-year survival rates strongly correlated with age (91% vs. 50% of patients in the <60 and ≥60 age groups, respectively; p < .0001). 72% of all deaths occurred between 30 days and 1 year. Age correlated with survival independent of ISS. Conclusion: Our data suggest that advanced age is a strong independent predictor of death at 30 days and 1 year following SCI, regardless of the overall severity of injury or neurologic completeness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Age
  • Injury severity
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Rehabilitation


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