In the acute post injury setting, the prognostic value of sensory sparing among motor complete spinal injury patients has been well demonstrated. However, once final AIS grade is achieved one year post-injury, the value of sensory sparing alone has not been elucidated. We hypothesized that sensory sparing would lead to better outcomes in AIS B over AIS A patients at long-term, post-recovery follow-up.
To evaluate for differences in medical, Physical and Social outcomes between AIS A and B patients at least one year post injury.
Retrospective Cohort PATIENT SAMPLE: Adults over the age of 18 with AIS A or B spinal cord injury sustained between January 1, 1995 and September 13, 2019. Data Collected from the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Database.
Self Reported Measures: PHQ-9 score; SCI-QOL Resilience Short Form score; VAS pain score; Life Satisfaction Score; Self reported depression and sleep disturbances. Physiologic Measures: Body Mass Index, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Mortality, Incidence of Pressure Sores. Functional Measures: Bowel and Bladder Management; Illicit Substance use; Level of Education; Marital Status; Rehospitalization Rate.
Patient data from the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Database were extracted for patients with a final, recovered American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) grade of A or B at 1-year post-injury. Variables related to physical, mental and social functioning were compared between the two groups.
2,562 AIS A and 675 AIS B patient met inclusion criteria. Occurrence of pressure ulcers was 7% less in AIS B vs. A (34.5% vs. 41.9%, p=0.003). There were no statistical differences between groups in pain, bowel or bladder accidents, urinary tract infections, or the level of assistance for bowel or bladder management. There was no statistical difference for PHQ-9 depression scores, SCI-QOL Resilience Scores, rates of suicidality or sleep disturbance. There was no difference for illicit drug or alcohol abuse, life satisfaction scores, perceived health, and marriage or divorce rates CONCLUSIONS: Except for a 7% reduction in pressure ulcer occurrence, there is no apparent long-term outcome advantage for motor complete spinal cord injury patients with AIS B sensory sparing over AIS A sensory complete. All other physical function domains were not different, nor were mental and social outcomes.

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