Early Predictors and Outcomes of American Spinal Injury Association Conversion at Discharge in Surgical and Nonsurgical Management of Sports-Related Spinal Cord Injury

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World Neurosurgery


Objective: This study aims to evaluate the rate of improvement in neurologic recovery of patients with sports-related spinal cord injury (SRSCI) who had surgical intervention (SS) and those who did not (NSS). We aimed to 1) evaluate the rate of American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) conversion in patients with and without surgery, and 2) assess predictors of conversion in ASIA grade.

Methods: The National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Database (SCIMS) was used from 1973 to 2016. Patients with SRSCI were included. The primary outcome was rate of conversion in ASIA grade. Multivariate logistic regression was performed with separate subgroup analysis on patients with cervical injury (represented by odds ratio [OR]; 95% confidence interval [CI]).

Results: A total of 1647 patients had SRSCI with 1502 (91%) SSs. Most patients (88%) were male, white (87%), and between the ages of 15 and 29 years (63%). Patients undergoing SS had significantly longer inpatient rehabilitation length of stay (LOS) (P < 0.001) and a more patients undergoing SS had complete motor or sensory loss compared with the NSS group. Multivariate logistic regression showed that injury at the thoracic level (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.21-0.78), age 15-29 years (OR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.20-0.97]), water-based injury (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21-0.95), and ASIA impairment grades of B, C, and D at admission were significantly associated with ASIA SCORE conversion.

Conclusions: We found that patients undergoing SS had longer LOS and a higher prevalence of complete injuries. Surgical intervention was not associated with conversion in ASIA grade to an improved status at time of discharge in a large cohort of patients with SRSCI and in a subcohort of patients with cervical SRSCI.



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American Spinal Injury Association, Conversion, Outcomes, Spinal cord injury, Sports, Sports-related spinal cord injury