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Care of post-traumatic spinal cord injury patients in India: An analysis

Author(s): Pandey V | Nigam V | Goyal T | Chhabra H

Journal: Indian Journal of Orthopaedics
ISSN 0019-5413

Volume: 41;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 295;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Spinal cord injury

Background: The spinal cord injured patients if congregated early in spinal units where better facilities and dedicated expert care exist the outcome of treatment and rehabilitation, can be improved. The objective of this study is to find out the various factors responsible for a delay in the presentation of spinal injury patients to the specialized spinal trauma units and to suggest steps to improve the quality of care of the spinal trauma patients in the Indian setup. Materials and Methods: Sixty patients of traumatic spinal cord injury admitted for rehabilitation between August 2005 and May 2006 were enrolled into the study and their data was analyzed. Results: Eighty-five per cent of the spinal cord injured patients were males and the mean age was 34 years (range 13-56 years). Twenty-nine (48.33%) of the spinal injuries occurred due to fall from height. There was an average of 45 days (range 0-188 days) of delay in presentation to a specialized spinal unit and most of the time the cause for the delay was unawareness on the part of patients and/or doctors regarding specialized spinal units. In 38 (62.5%) cases the mode of transportation of the spinal cord injured patient to the first visited hospital was by their own conveyance and the attendants of the patients did not have any idea about precautions essential to prevent neurological deterioration. Seventeen (28.33%) patients were given injection solumedrol with conservative treatment, 35 (60%) patients were given only conservative treatment and seven patients were operated (11.66%) upon at initially visited hospital. Of the seven patients operated five were fixed with posterior Harrington instrumentation (71.42%) and two (28.57%) were operated by short segment posterior pedicle screw fixation. None of the patients were subjected to physiotherapy-assisted transfers or wheel chair skills or even basic postural training, proper bladder/ bowel training program and sitting balance. Conclusion: Awareness on the part of the general population, attendants of the patients, clinical and paraclinical team regarding spinal cord injury needs to be addressed via conducting various awareness programs and using electronic media. Safe mode of transportation of spinal cord injured patient and early presentation at tertiary spinal care center with comprehensive spinal trauma care team should be stressed upon.

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