University of Oulu

Majamäki, K., Tallqvist, S., Vainionpää, A. et al. Functional independence in the Finnish spinal cord injury population. Spinal Cord (2021).

Functional independence in the Finnish spinal cord injury population

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Author: Majamäki, Kirsi1; Tallqvist, Susanna2; Vainionpää, Aki3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Rehabilitation, Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Seinäjoki, Finland
4Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
5Department of Medical Rehabilitation/Spinal Cord Injury Outpatient Clinic, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
6Biostatistics Unit, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
7Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Public Health and Welfare Department, Knowledge Management and Co-creation Unit, Helsinki, Finland
8Department of Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation/Spinal Cord Injury Outpatient Clinic, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
9The Finnish Association of Spinal Cord Injured Akson, Helsinki, Finland
10Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Central Finland Health Care District, Central Finland Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland
11Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
12The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, Helsinki, Finland
13Validia Rehabilitation, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-12-13


Study design: A cross-sectional survey of the Finnish population with spinal cord injury (FinSCI database).

Objectives: To describe the functional independence of the population with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Finland and to identify how generic and lesion characteristics affect their functional independence.

Setting: The participants were recruited from the registers of three SCI outpatient clinics responsible for lifelong follow-up and care for people with SCI in Finland.

Methods: The data were retrieved from FinSCI (n = 1772). The response rate was 50% (n = 884). The Spinal Cord Independence Measure-Self Report (SCIM-SR) was used. The data were analyzed with univariate testing, factor analyses, and multiple linear regression models.

Results: The median (percentiles 25; 75) SCIM-SR total score was 76.0 (58.8; 89.0), and the score was 18.0 (13.0; 20:0) for the self-care sub-scale, 33.0 (25.0; 39.0) for the respiration and sphincter management sub-scale and 29.0 (16.0; 36.8) for the mobility sub-scale. The higher the neurological level in groups AIS A, B, and C, the lower the functional ability. Group AIS D at any injury level had the highest level of functional ability. Age and the number of years since injury negatively influenced the SCIM-SR scores for every sub-scale.

Conclusion: Based on the International Spinal Cord Injury Core Data Set, the severity of SCI can differentiate persons with SCI according to their functional ability. The results suggest that SCI affects individuals’ health more than ageing alone does, thereby reducing the functional ability and independence of persons with SCI over time.

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Series: Spinal cord
ISSN: 1362-4393
ISSN-E: 1476-5624
ISSN-L: 1362-4393
Issue: Early access
DOI: 10.1038/s41393-021-00700-x
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: Open access funding provided by University of Helsinki including Helsinki University Central Hospital.
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