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Bethel M, Bailey L, Weaver F, Harmon RL, Priebe MM, Le B, Aslam H, Fausel Z, Hoenig H, Carbone LD. A historical study of appendicular fractures in veterans with traumatic chronic spinal cord injury: 2002-2007. The journal of spinal cord medicine. 2016 Nov 1; 39(6):686-692.
OBJECTIVE: Describe the incidence and distribution of appendicular fractures in a cohort of veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). DESIGN: Retrospective, observational study of fractures in veterans with a chronic traumatic SCI. SETTING: The Veterans Health Administration (VA) healthcare system. PARTICIPANTS: Veterans included in the VA Spinal Cord Dysfunction Registry from Fiscal Years (FY) FY2002-FY2007. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Description of fractures by site and number. Mortality at one year following incident fracture among men with single vs. multiple fractures. RESULTS: Male and female veterans sustained incident fractures with similar observed frequency (10.5% vs 11.5%). The majority of fractures occurred in the lower extremities for both men and women. In men, a complete extent of injury (compared to incomplete) was associated with 41% greater relative risk (RR) of incident fracture (RR 1.41, 95% confidence interval [1.17, 1.70]) among those with tetraplegia, but not paraplegia. Furthermore, many men (33.9%, n? = 434) sustained multiple fractures over the course of the study. There were no differences in mortality between men who sustained a single fracture and those who had multiple fractures. CONCLUSIONS: The extent of injury may be an important predictor of fracture risk for male veterans with tetraplegia. Once a fracture occurs, male veterans with SCI appear to be at high risk for additional fractures.