Prospective, population-based study. This paper is part of the Stockholm Thessaloniki Acute Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Study (STATSCIS).
To characterize patient populations and to compare acute management after traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI).
The Greater Thessaloniki region in Greece and the Greater Stockholm region in Sweden.
Inception cohorts with acute TSCI that were hospitalized during the study period, that is September 2006 to October 2007, were identified. Overall, 81 out of 87 cases consented to inclusion in Thessaloniki and 47 out of 49 in Stockholm. Data from Thessaloniki were collected through physical examinations, medical record reviews and communication with TSCI cases and medical teams. Data from Stockholm were retrieved from the Nordic Spinal Cord Injury Registry.
There were no significant differences between study groups with regard to core clinical characteristics. In contrast, there were significant differences in (1) transfer logistics from the scene of trauma to a tertiary-level hospital (number of intermediate admissions, modes of transportation and duration of transfer) and (2) acute key therapeutic interventions, that is, the use of mechanical ventilation (49% in Thessaloniki versus 20% in Stockholm), and performance of tracheostomy (36% in Thessaloniki versus 15% in Stockholm); spinal surgery was performed significantly more often and earlier in Stockholm than in Thessaloniki.
Despite largely similar core clinical characteristics, Stockholm and Thessaloniki cases underwent significantly different acute management, most probably to be attributed to adaptations to the differing regional approaches of care one following a systematic approach of SCI care and the other not.