ORIGINAL RESEARCH| Volume 103, ISSUE 4, P642-648.e2, April 2022

Trauma Indicators in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank and National Spinal Cord Injury Database

Published:December 19, 2021DOI:



      To investigate whether initial emergency department physiological measures and metrics of trauma severity predict functional outcomes and neurologic recovery in traumatic spinal cord injury.


      Retrospective analysis of a clinical database.


      Merged multicenter data from the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) database and National Trauma Data Bank from 6 academic medical centers across the United States.


      Patients (N=319) admitted to SCIMS rehabilitation centers within 1 year of injury. The majority of patients were men (76.2%), with a mean age of 44 years (SD, 19y). At rehabilitation admission, the most common neurologic level of injury was low cervical (C5-C8, 39.5%) and ASIA impairment scale (AIS) was A (34.4%).

      Main Outcome Measures

      Primary outcomes were FIM motor score at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and change in FIM motor score between inpatient rehabilitation admission and discharge. We hypothesized that derangements in emergency department physiological measures, such as decreased blood pressure and oxygen saturation, as well as increased severity of trauma burden, would predict poorer functional outcomes.


      Linear regression analysis showed that neurologic level of injury and AIS predicted discharge FIM motor score. Systolic blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, need for assisted respiration, and presence of penetrating injury did not predict discharge motor FIM or FIM motor score improvement.


      Initial emergency department physiological parameters did not prognosticate functional outcomes in this cohort.


      List of abbreviations:

      AIS (ASIA Impairment Scale), ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association), GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale), ISS (Injury Severity Score), NTDB (National Trauma Data Bank), SCI (spinal cord injury), SCIMS (Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems)
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