University of Oulu

Tallqvist, S., Kauppila, AM., Vainionpää, A. et al. Prevalence of comorbidities and secondary health conditions among the Finnish population with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord (2021).

Prevalence of comorbidities and secondary health conditions among the Finnish population with spinal cord injury

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Author: Tallqvist, Susanna1; Kauppila, Anna-Maija2; Vainionpää, Aki3;
Organizations: 1University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine, Helsinki, Finland
2Oulu University Hospital, Department of Medical Rehabilitation/Spinal Cord Injury Outpatient Clinic, Oulu, Finland
3Seinäjoki Central Hospital, Department of Rehabilitation, Seinäjoki, Finland
4Tampere University Hospital, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere, Finland
5Biostatistics Unit, Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
6Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Public Health and Welfare Department, Knowledge Management and Co-creation Unit, Helsinki, Finland
7Helsinki University Hospital, Department of Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation/Spinal Cord Injury Outpatient Clinic, Helsinki, Finland
8The Finnish Association of Spinal Cord Injured Akson, Helsinki, Finland
9Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Central Finland Health Care District, Central Finland Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland
10Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
11The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities, Helsinki, Finland
12Validia Rehabilitation, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-03-14


Study design: A cross-sectional study.

Objectives: To explore the prevalence of comorbidities, secondary health conditions (SHCs), and multimorbidity in the Finnish population with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Setting: The data were collected from the Finnish Spinal Cord Injury Study (FinSCI). Participants were identified from three SCI outpatient clinics responsible for the lifelong follow-up of persons with SCI in Finland, (n = 884 participants, response rate; 50%).

Methods: The FinSCI-questionnaire included a question from the National Study of Health, Well-being, and Service (FinSote) for screening 12 comorbidities. The reference data of the general population for that question were received from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. The Spinal Cord Injury Secondary Condition Scale (SCI-SCS) was used to screen 16 SHCs. The data were analysed with univariate testing and multivariable negative binomial regression modelling.

Results: The most common comorbidities were high blood pressure/hypertension (38%), back problems (28%), and high cholesterol (22%). The most common SHCs were joint and muscle pain (81%), muscle spasms (74%), chronic pain (71%), and bowel problems (71%). The prevalence of comorbidities was highest among persons aged ≥76 years (mean; 2.0; scale range; 0–12). The prevalence of SHCs was highest in the severity of SCI group C1–4 AIS A, B, and C (mean; 8.9; scale range; 0–16).

Conclusions: Further research on geriatrics in SCI, non-traumatic SCI, and knowledge of the needs of persons with cervical lesion AIS A, B, or C is required, due to the fact that the prevalence of multimorbidity is high in these groups.

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Series: Spinal cord
ISSN: 1362-4393
ISSN-E: 1476-5624
ISSN-L: 1362-4393
DOI: 10.1038/s41393-021-00704-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This study was supported by the Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities (pr42105, 2017-2020); Oulu University Hospital (grant VTR K86709, 20.10.2017); Department of Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation, Helsinki University Hospital (grants HUS/53/2017 §9, 9.6.2017, HUS/76/2018 § 11, 18.4.2018 and HUS/174/201 §1, 12.4.2019); and Validia Rehabilitation (grant HUS-VTR 9.3.2017). Open access funding provided by University of Helsinki including Helsinki University Central Hospital.
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