Original research| Volume 98, ISSUE 9, P1782-1791, September 2017

Risk Analyses of Pressure Ulcer in Tetraplegic Spinal Cord-Injured Persons: A French Long-Term Survey

Published:January 24, 2017DOI:



      To identify the long-term clinical, individual, and social risk factors for the development of pressure ulcers (PUs) in traumatic spinal cord–injured persons with tetraplegia (TSCIt).


      Cohort survey with self-applied questionnaires in 1995 and 2006.


      Thirty-five French-speaking European physical medicine and rehabilitation centers participating in the Tetrafigap surveys.


      Tetraplegic adults (N=1641) were surveyed after an initial posttraumatic period of at least 2 years. Eleven years later, a follow-up was done for 1327 TSCIt, among whom 221 had died and 547 could be surveyed again.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The proportion of PUs documented at the various defined time points, relative to the medical and social situations of the TSCIt, by using univariate analyses followed by logistic regression.


      Of the participants, 73.4% presented with a PU during at least 1 period after their injury. Four factors had an effect on the occurrence of PUs in the long-term. Protective features for this population were incomplete motor impairment (odds ratio, 0.5) and the ability to walk (odds ratio, 0.2), whereas a strong predictive factor was the development of a PU during the initial posttrauma phase (odds ratio, 2.7). Finally, a significant situational factor was the lack of a social network (odds ratio, 3.1).


      We believe that the highlighting of a motor incomplete feature of SCI (protective against the development of a PU) and of a medical risk factor, an early PU (which served as a definitive marker of the trajectory of TSCIt), together with a social situational factor, indicates the crucial role of initial management and long-term follow-up.


      List of abbreviations:

      AIS (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale), PU (pressure ulcer), RF (risk factor), SCI (spinal cord injury), TSCIt (traumatic spinal cord–injured persons with tetraplegia)
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