A clinical prediction model for long-term functional outcome after traumatic spinal cord injury based on acute clinical and imaging factors.


To improve clinicians' ability to predict outcome after spinal cord injury (SCI) and to help classify patients within clinical trials, we have created a novel prediction model relating acute clinical and imaging information to functional outcome at 1 year. Data were obtained from two large prospective SCI datasets. Functional independence measure (FIM) motor score at 1 year follow-up was the primary outcome, and functional independence (score ≥ 6 for each FIM motor item) was the secondary outcome. A linear regression model was created with the primary outcome modeled relative to clinical and imaging predictors obtained within 3 days of injury. A logistic model was then created using the dichotomized secondary outcome and the same predictor variables. Model validation was performed using a bootstrap resampling procedure. Of 729 patients, 376 met the inclusion criteria. The mean FIM motor score at 1 year was 62.9 (±28.6). Better functional status was predicted by less severe initial American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grade, and by an ASIA motor score >50 at admission. In contrast, older age and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal characteristics consistent with spinal cord edema or hemorrhage predicted worse functional outcome. The linear model predicting FIM motor score demonstrated an R-square of 0.52 in the original dataset, and 0.52 (95% CI 0.52,0.53) across the 200 bootstraps. Functional independence was achieved by 148 patients (39.4%). For the logistic model, the area under the curve was 0.93 in the original dataset, and 0.92 (95% CI 0.92,0.93) across the bootstraps, indicating excellent predictive discrimination. These models will have important clinical impact to guide decision making and to counsel patients and families.





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Publication Info

Wilson, Jefferson R, Robert G Grossman, Ralph F Frankowski, Alexander Kiss, Aileen M Davis, Abhaya V Kulkarni, James S Harrop, Bizhan Aarabi, et al. (2012). A clinical prediction model for long-term functional outcome after traumatic spinal cord injury based on acute clinical and imaging factors. Journal of neurotrauma, 29(13). pp. 2263–2271. 10.1089/neu.2012.2417 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28859.

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Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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