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Urinary tract infections, urologic surgery, and renal dysfunction in a contemporary cohort of traumatic spinal cord injured patients


Aims — The objective of this study was to measure the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs), urologic reconstruction/urinary diversion, and renal dysfunction after a traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI).

Methods — Retrospective cohort study using administrative data from Ontario, Canada. All incident adult TSCI patients (2002-2013) admitted to a rehabilitation center were included. The impact of lesion level on each outcome was assessed. The rate of outcomes was further compared to an age and sex matched sample from the general population.

Results — A total of 2,023 incident TSCI patients were identified (median follow-up of 4.8 years). Most patients (73%) were male and median age was 50 years. Lesion level included cervical (39%), thoracolumbar (44%), and unknown (17%). The incidence of serious UTIs (requiring emergency room visit or hospital admission) was 40%. Thoracolumbar lesion TSCI patients had significantly greater risk of serious UTIs (HR 1.3, 95%CI 1.1-1.7, P < 0.01) compared to those with a cervical lesion. Urologic reconstruction/urinary diversion was carried out on 2.4% of patients. New onset renal dysfunction was identified in 4.2% (84) TSCI patients. The rate ratios for serious UTIs (10.59, 95%CI 8.71-12.89), urologic reconstruction/urinary diversion (6.48, 95%CI 3.07-13.68), and renal dysfunction (2.55, 95%CI 1.70-3.83) were significantly increased among TSCI patients compared to matched controls.

Conclusions — Urologic disease is still an important source of morbidity for contemporary TSCI patients, and is more common compared to the general population.



Welk B, Lui K, Winick-Ng J, Shariff SZ. Neurourol Urodyn. 2017; 36(3):640-7. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

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