Original article| Volume 96, ISSUE 1, P76-83, January 2015

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Estimating the Incidence and Prevalence of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury in Australia

Published:September 13, 2014DOI:



      To determine estimates of the incidence and prevalence of traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) in Australia as of June 30, 2011.


      Population modeling using cohort survival.




      Hospital data regarding people with TSCI in Australia.


      Modeling using the following data: 2 population-based databases of hospital separations of patients with TSCI, giving upper and lower estimates of incidence; national population profiles and life tables; levels of TSCI based on Australian Spinal Cord Injury Registry; and life expectancy for persons with spinal cord injury under 3 scenarios—1 constant and 2 with a trend standardized mortality ratio (SMR).

      Main Outcome Measures

      Age- and sex-specific incidence and prevalence estimates.


      The lower estimate of incidence was 21.0 per million population per year, and the upper estimate was 32.3 per million population per year. The derived prevalence rates ranged from 490 per million population (10,944 persons–lower incidence, trend SMR with survival from 1948) up to 886 per million population (19,784 persons–higher incidence, constant SMR). The prevalence was highest in males, persons aged 46 to 60 years, and those with tetraplegia.


      We have reported a method for calculating an estimate of the prevalence of TSCI which provides information that will be vital to optimize health care planning for this group of highly disabled members of society.


      List of abbreviations:

      AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare), AIS (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale), ASCIR (Australian Spinal Cord Injury Registrar), ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision), SMR (standardized mortality ratio), TSCI (traumatic spinal cord injury)
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