Respiratory complications after traumatic spinal cord injury are associated with higher mortality

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a leading cause of injury and death, and millions of people worldwide are affected each year. Among other negative outcomes, SCI may paralyze the diaphragm, which dangerously limits a person’s ability to breathe without mechanical ventilation. This kind of respiratory complication is a serious risk factor for mortality after SCI.

A recent Chinese study estimated the risk factors for respiratory complication and mortality after SCI. Researchers collected medical records from 181 patients who were admitted with SCI, and they analyzed both demographic data and injury-related variables. They found that older patients with a history of smoking or steroid use were more likely to suffer from respiratory complications after SCI. Furthermore, they found that the risk of mortality significantly increased for patients who were older, patients whose injuries required surgical intervention or mechanical ventilation, and patients who had higher a body mass index.

A healthy lifestyle may reduce the chances of respiratory complication and mortality after sustaining SCI. Clinicians who understand and identify the SCI-related risk factors associated with patients’ age, general health, and lifestyle habits are better able to provide their patients with the best treatment plans and recovery programs which typically improves patient outcomes in the post-injury period.

Yang X, Huang Z, Li Z, et al. Risk factors and the surgery affection of respiratory complication and its mortality after acute traumatic cervical spinal cord injury. Medicine. (August 2017).

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