The Epidemiology of Geriatric Spinal Cord Injury

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The incidence and prevalence of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the geriatric population are increasing. Current estimates suggest that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the geriatric (>65 years of age) population is 67.9/million with a prevalence as high as 116.3/million. This results in significant morbidity, mortality, and socioeconomic consequences. This review examines epidemiological factors associated with SCI in the elderly. The most common scenario is a fall, causing a cervical incomplete cord injury, in patients with preexisting degenerative changes. This typically causes a central cord syndrome. Risk factors are biological, behavioral, environmental, and socioeconomic. Although there is no significant difference in neurological recovery between older and younger SCI groups, older patients exhibit significantly less functional recovery.

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