Effects of Etiology on Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcomes in 65-74 Year Olds with Incomplete Paraplegia from a Non-traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.
Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine differences in rehabilitation outcomes for older patients with a nontraumatic spinal cord injury (NT-SCI) for 5 etiologic diagnoses: degenerative spinal disease (DSD), malignant spinal tumor, benign spinal tumor, vascular ischemia, and spinal abscess. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study that used Medicare claims and assessment data. SETTING: A total of 479 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units. PATIENTS: A total of 1780 Medicare beneficiaries (65-74 years old) with incomplete paraplegia attributable to NT-SCI who were discharged from inpatient rehabilitation facilities from 2002 through 2005. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Length of stay, discharge Functional Independence Measure (FIM) instrument motor item and subscale scores, and discharge destination. RESULTS: Demographic characteristics varied by etiology group. Mean +/- SD rehabilitation stays ranged from 13.3 +/- 7.7 days for DSD to 26.4 +/- 13.4 days for vascular ischemia. Adjusted data showed stays differed (P < .001) across etiology groups. Adjusted discharge mean self-care and mobility subscores revealed that patients with DSD and benign tumor were more independent (P < .001) than patients with a malignant tumor or spinal abscess. Patients with vascular ischemia were more dependent (P < .01) in mobility than the DSD and benign tumor groups. Etiologic differences (P < .01) in independence in discharge FIM modifiers for walking (FIM > or = 4), bladder (FIM > or = 6) and bowel management (FIM > or = 6) and bowel accidents/continence (FIM > or = 6), but not bladder accidents (FIM > or = 6), were present. The percent of patients discharged to a community residence ranged from 59.3% to 92.6%. Adjusted data showed that significantly larger percentages (P < .01) of patients in the DSD and malignant tumor groups than in the spinal abscess group were discharged to a community residence (versus nursing home). CONCLUSION: There are etiologic differences in demographics, rehabilitation length of stay, functional outcomes, and discharge destination in elderly patients with NT-SCI.