Content » Vol 37, Issue 5

Health-related quality of life in persons with traumatic spinal cord lesion in Helsinki

DOI: 10.1080/16501970510034413


Objective: To estimate the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of persons with spinal cord lesion. Design: The study design was cross-sectional. Subjects: All adult citizens in Helsinki with traumatic spinal cord lesion were identified. The final study group comprised 117 subjects, corresponding to a participation rate of 77%. Methods: HRQoL was assessed by a generic 15-dimensional self-administered instrument (15D). Clinical examination was based on the manual of the American Spinal Injury Association. Examinations were performed on all subjects by the same experienced physician and physiotherapist. Results: The average 15D score of the study group was significantly lower (p <0. 001) than that measured in the age-matched general population sample. Subjects with spinal cord lesion had significantly more problems due to the neurological lesion but also on the dimensions of sleeping, discomfort and symptoms and vitality. In regression analysis of the study group the only variable explaining HRQoL was the neurological level of the lesion. Spinal cord lesion caused more depression and distress in persons with motor incomplete lesion than those with motor complete lesion. Conclusion: Persons with spinal cord lesion had lower HRQoL than the population in general. The results indicate that spinal cord lesion may cause problems in the areas of sleeping, discomfort and symptoms or vitality, in particular. More attention should be paid to finding ways of improving the situation of persons with motor incomplete lesion, especially in terms of psychological function.

Lay Abstract


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