Spinal cord injury rehabilitation outcome: the impact of age

Gary M. Yarkony*, Elliot J. Roth, Allen W. Heinemann, Linda L. Lovell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The effect of age on self-care and mobility skill performance after spinal cord injury was studied using a 15-task modified Barthel Index (MBI) to score functional abilities for 708 patients aged 6 through 88 years. Analysis of covariance showed no relationship between age and discharge MBI score; however, patients with paraplegia, incomplete lesions, and greater admission functional ratings had greater discharge functional scores than did those with quadriplegia, complete lesions, and lower admission scores, respectively. Advancing age was associated with increased dependence in only seven functional skills (bathing, upper and lower body dressing, stair climbing, and transfers to chair, toilet and bath) and only for patients with complete paraplegia. Other MBI component tasks and patients with complete quadriplegia, incomplete paraplegia and incomplete quadriplegia demonstrated no relationship between age and skill performance. Results of this study support the practice of providing comprehensive rehabilitation services to all patients following spinal cord injury regardless of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988


  • Age
  • Functional skills
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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