A comparative study of outcomes and expenses following tetraplegia and paraplegia

David W. Hess*, Stephanie A. Kolakowsky-Hayner, David X. Cifu, Mark E. Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: A study was designed to directly compare individuals with tetraplegia and paraplegia to further explore neurological and functional outcomes and their impact on the expense of rehabilitation when controlling for level of completeness, age at the time of injury, and length of stay. Methods: A sample was drawn from the National Spinal Cord Injury Database consisting of 2069 individuals, 1005 with paraplegia and 1064 with tetraplegia. Results: Significant demographic differences were found between the 2 groups with regard to age, ethnicity, marital status, and employment status. Significant differences were found between the groups with regard to all individual outcome variables (p < .001) and expenses (p < .05). On average, patients with paraplegic injuries evidenced greater change and efficiency on a functional independence measure than patients with tetraplegia. In contrast, patients with tetraplegia showed greater changes and efficiency with regard to ASIA Motor Index scores. Higher rehabilitation expenses were found for patients with tetraplegia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-233
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Expenses
  • Outcomes
  • Paraplegia
  • Rehabilitation
  • Tetraplegia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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