Between 1993 and 2012, the incidence rate of acute spinal cord injury (SCI) remained relatively stable in the United States. However, an increase was seen among older adults, mostly due to an increase in the number of falls.

This is according to a study that appears in a recent issue of JAMA, The JAMA Network Journals reports.

In their study, Nitin B. Jain, MD, MSPH, of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn, and colleagues analyzed survey data from the US Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) databases for 1993-2012, the release notes. They examined trends in incidence, causes, health care utilization, and mortality for acute traumatic spinal cord injury.

The release explains that the researchers examined data from a total number of 63,109 patients with acute traumatic SCI. The actual number of cases in the NIS database increased from 2,659 in 1993 to 3,393 in 2012. The incidence rate for acute traumatic SCI remained relatively stable, the researchers note: the estimated rate was 53 cases per 1 million persons in 1993 and 54 cases per 1 million persons in 2012.

The SCI incidence rates among the younger male population declined. However, for both the male and female populations, researchers observed a high rate of increase in spinal cord injury incidence from 1993 to 2012 among elderly persons. Although overall in-hospital mortality increased from 6.6% in 1993-1996 to 7.5% in 2010-2012, mortality decreased significantly from 24% in 1993-1996 to 20% in 2010-2012 among persons 85 years or older, the release continues.

In terms of SCI resulting from falls, the percentage increased significantly from 28% in 1997-2000 to 66% in 2010-2012 in those 65 years or older, according to the release.

“This is a major public health issue, and it likely represents a more active 65- to 84-year-old US population currently compared with the 1990s, which increases the risk of falls in this age group. This issue may be further compounded in the future because of the aging population in the United States,” the authors write, per the release.

[Source(s): The JAMA Network Journals, EurekAlert]