Our Geeks reviewed the latest data from the National Institutes of Health and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to compile the most useful, up-to-date spinal cord injury statistics available.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
In the United States, most new spinal cord injuries—36 percent—are caused by motor-vehicle collisions. Falls, which account for 24 percent of all new SCIs, are the second-leading cause. Other common contributors include violent altercations, especially those involving firearms, and sporting accidents.
Cost of Treating Spinal Cord Injuries
In the first 12 months after sustaining an SCI between the C1 and C4 vertebrae, the total anticipated living expenses and medical costs amount to more than $740,000. In the years that follow, the annual costs amount to more than $130,000. Indirect costs like lost income and loss of productivity are not included in these estimates.
It is common for those with SCIs to develop co-occurring disorders. In many cases, the medical expenses associated with treating these disorders make up a major portion of an SCI’s total lifetime costs. Approximately 30 percent of those with an SCI must be hospitalized at least once every year. Their average hospital stay is roughly 22 days. Genitourinary-related diseases are the primary cause of hospitalization. Skin diseases are the second leading cause. Circulatory, digestive, respiratory, and musculoskeletal issues are also prevalent among those living with a spinal cord injury.
How Common Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
Approximately 11,000 people sustain a spinal cord injury in the United States annually.
In 2016, approximately 282,000 people throughout the country were living with a spinal cord injury.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Approximately half of all spinal cord injuries cause some degree of paralysis in both legs and both arms. This is known as quadriplegia. It may also be referred to as tetraplegia.
Spinal Cord Injuries by Age
Slightly more than 45 percent of all SCI cases involve individuals who are between 16 and 30 years old.
Slightly less than 30 percent of all SCI cases involve individuals who are between the ages of 31 and 45.
In the 1970s, the average age at which victims sustained their SCI was 29. In 2016, the average age at which victims sustained their SCI was 42.
Male/Female Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Men account for around 80 percent of all new spinal cord injury cases.
Statistics on the Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
During the 1970s, hospitalized SCI patients spent an average of 24 days in the acute care unit. Today, the average stay is 11 days. The average duration of rehabilitation stays has also declined. During the 1970s, it was 98 days. Today, it is 35 days.
The life expectancy for those who sustain an SCI is much lower than it is for those without an SCI. Additionally, this figure has not increased since the 1980s. In the first 12 months after sustaining an SCI, mortality rates are considerably higher than they are in the years that follow, especially for those who suffer severe cognitive impairment.