Objective: To quantify the burden of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) as defined by nonfatal health loss and premature mortality among a large sample of participants over a 44-year period, and estimate the national burden of SCI in the United States for the year 2010. Design: Longitudinal. Setting: National SCI Model Systems and Shriners Hospitals. Participants: Individuals (N=51,226) were categorized by neurologic level of injury as cervical (n=28,178) or thoracic and below (n=23,048). Main Outcome Measures: The burden of SCI was calculated in years lost due to premature mortality (YLL), years lived with disability (YLD), and disability-adjusted life years (DALY). Results: For those with cervical level injuries, the overall YLLs and YLDs were 253,745 and 445,709, respectively, for an estimated total of 699,454 DALYs. For those with thoracic and below level injuries, the overall YLLs and YLDs were 153,885 and 213,160, respectively, for an estimated total of 367,045 DALYs. Proportionally adjusted DALYs attributable to SCI in 2010 were 445,911. Conclusions: SCIs accounted for over 1 million years of healthy life lost in a national sample over a 44-year span. We estimated that 445,911 DALYs resulted from SCIs in the US in 2010 alone, placing the national burden of SCIs above other impactful conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Future investigations may employ DALYs to monitor trends in SCI burden in response to innovations in SCI care and identify subgroups of persons with SCIs for whom tailored interventions might improve DALYs.
- Physical medicine
- Spinal cord injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation