Mobility aids and transport possibilities 10-45 years after spinal cord injury

date: 2004 Dec;42(12):699-706
author: Biering-Sorensen F.
publication: Spinal Cord.
PubMed ID15289807

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

A cross-sectional survey with retrospective data.

OBJECTIVE:

Follow-up information on the use of mobility aids and transportation possibilities in a chronic traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) population.

SETTING:

Clinic for Para- and Tetraplegia at Rigshospitalet, University hospital, Denmark (CPT). The uptake area is East Denmark with a population of 2.5 million inhabitants.

METHODS:

Survey on date of birth, gender, time of SCI, cause of SCI, neurological level and functional classification from medical files were combined with information concerning mobility aids and transport possibilities at the time of follow-up from a mailed questionnaire.

MATERIAL:

Individuals with traumatic SCI before 1 January 1991 were still in regular follow-up at CPT, and with sufficient medical record. A total of 279 were included, out of which 236 answered the questionnaire. Of the 193 men and 43 women injured from 1956 to 1990 the response rate was 84.6%. Age at the time of follow-up was 50.5 years in mean, and follow-up time was 24.1 years in mean. In all, 126 were paraplegic and 110 tetraplegic. Responders and nonresponders were comparable.

RESULTS:

In all, 3.4% used no special mobility aids at all. In total, 49 used crutches or rolling walkers and 26 lower extremities bracing, but mostly in combination with a wheelchair. Standing frame and stand-up wheelchair were used by men only. Manual wheelchair was used by 83.5% and electrical wheelchair by 27%, and the latter more by the tetraplegics. In all, 9.3% had neither a manual nor an electrical wheelchair. Overall, 86.4% had a passenger van or another car. Women used a car less often. Passenger vans were more often used by tetraplegics.

CONCLUSION:

Nearly all SCI participants had mobility aids of some sort, and 90.7% had either a manual or an electrical wheelchair or both. Most had a passenger van or another type of car for transportation. These facilities are important for the individuals to obtain an independent living.