Obesity and inpatients rehabilitation outcomes for patients with a traumatic spinal cord injury

Short Title:
Model System:
Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2011, vol. 92, issue 3, pp 384-390
Publication Website:
Study examined the effect of obesity on change in self-care and mobility ratings and community discharge for patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). Data were analyzed for 1,524 patients with a new traumatic SCI discharged from Model Systems rehabilitation centers between October 2006 and October 2009. The primary outcomes examined were change in Functional Independence Measure (FIM) self-care and mobility ratings and discharge destination. Separate analyses were conducted by neurologic category: paraplegia incomplete, paraplegia complete, tetraplegia incomplete, and tetraplegia complete. Of all patients with traumatic SCI, approximately 25 percent were obese at admission. Patients who were obese were more likely to be married and slightly older than nonobese patients. In patients with paraplegia incomplete, obese patients had lower FIM self-care and mobility score gains than normal-weight patients. For patients with paraplegia complete, obese patients had significantly lower self-care and mobility score gains. For patients with tetraplegia incomplete and tetraplegia complete, FIM self-care and mobility ratings for obese patients were not significantly different from ratings for normal-weight patients. Within each neurologic category, the percentage of patients discharged to the community was not significantly different for non-obese and obese patients. Obesity appears to be a barrier to meeting self-care and mobility functional goals for patients with paraplegia in inpatient SCI rehabilitation.
Stenson, K, Deutsch, A, Heinemann, A, Chen, D
Author Address(es):

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