Article| Volume 85, ISSUE 3, P368-375, March 2004

Medical procedures, complications, and outcomes for patients with spinal cord injury: a multicenter investigation comparing African Americans and whites 1


      Meade MA, Cifu DX, Seel RT, McKinley WO, Kreutzer JS. Medical procedures, complications, and outcomes for patients with spinal cord injury: a multicenter investigation comparing African Americans and whites. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004;85:368–75.


      To examine the role of race on rehabilitation outcomes for a matched sample of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).


      African Americans and whites with SCI were matched based on age group, level and completeness of injury, and sponsor of care to retrospectively analyze the impact of race.


      Eighteen medical centers in the federally sponsored Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems project.


      A total of 628 adults with SCI.


      Not applicable.

      Main outcome measures

      Medical procedures and complications; American Spinal Injury Association motor index, and FIMT instrument scores at admission and discharge; and discharge dispositions.


      Analysis revealed race-related differences in spinal surgeries, laparotomies, traction during acute care, and method of bladder management at discharge. In most cases, these were explained by cause of injury rather than direct affects of race. No differences were found with regard to medical complications functional outcomes, or discharge disposition.


      Although differences exist in the medical procedures given to African Americans and whites with SCI, they are generally accounted for by cause of injury rather than the direct affects of race.


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