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Journal: Spinal cord


Study design:Cross-sectional validation study.Objectives:To develop and validate a self-report version of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM III).Setting:Two SCI rehabilitation facilities in Switzerland.Methods:SCIM III comprises 19 questions on daily tasks with a total score between 0 and 100 and subscales for ‘self-care’, ‘respiration & sphincter management’ and ‘mobility’. A self-report version (SCIM-SR) was developed by expert discussions and pretests in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) using a German translation. A convenience sample of 99 inpatients with SCI was recruited. SCIM-SR data were analyzed together with SCIM III data obtained from attending health professionals.Results:High correlations between SCIM III and SCIM-SR were observed. Pearson’s r for the total score was 0.87 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82-0.91), for the subscales self-care 0.87 (0.81-0.91); respiration & sphincter management 0.81 (0.73-0.87); and mobility 0.87 (0.82-0.91). Intraclass correlations were: total score 0.90 (95% CI 0.85-0.93); self-care 0.86 (0.79-0.90); respiration & sphincter management 0.80 (0.71-0.86); and mobility 0.83 (0.76-0.89). Bland-Altman plots showed that patients rated their functioning higher than professionals, in particular for mobility. The mean difference between SCIM-SR and SCIM III for the total score was 5.14 (point estimate 95% CI 2.95-7.34), self-care 0.89 (0.19-1.59), respiration & sphincter management 1.05 (0.18-2.28 ) and mobility 3.49 (2.44-4.54). Particularly patients readmitted because of pressure sores rated their independence higher than attending professionals.Conclusion:Our results support the criterion validity of SCIM-SR. The self-report version may facilitate long-term evaluations of independence in persons with SCI in their home situation.

Concepts: Statistics, Validation, Criterion validity, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Spinal cord injury, Statistical inference, The Criterion, Interval estimation


Study design:Retrospective analysis.Objectives:To investigate the urodynamic effects of solifenacin treatment for neurogenic detrusor overactivity (NDO) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).Setting:Paraplegic center in Switzerland.Methods:Retrospective analysis of case histories and urodynamic data of 35 SCI patients receiving solifenacin for treatment of NDO between 2008 and 2012. Patients were categorized as being at risk of renal damage when maximum detrusor pressure was >40 cm H(2)O or detrusor compliance was <20 ml cm(-1) H(2)O.Results:Solifenacin treatment was initiated 7.3 years after SCI. Most patients (63%) had already been taking other antimuscarinic drugs. After 13.1 months (median, interquartile range 6.1-19.5 months), solifenacin treatment had resulted in significant (P<0.03) improvements in bladder capacity (median +30.0 ml), maximum detrusor pressure (median -7.0 cm H(2)O), reflex volume (median +62.5 ml) and detrusor compliance (median +25.0 ml cm(-1) H(2)O). Furthermore, fewer patients presented with a risk of renal damage. However, this difference was not significant (P>0.1). The number of patients suffering from incontinence had not changed significantly. Eight and two patients discontinued solifenacin treatment as a result of insufficient efficacy and intolerable adverse events, respectively. One patient had discontinued solifenacin treatment without further explanation.Conclusion:Solifenacin treatment significantly improved bladder capacity, detrusor compliance, reflex volume and maximum detrusor pressure. Solifenacin treatment seems to be an effective oral treatment of NDO after SCI.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 18 December 2012; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.164.

Concepts: Improve, Volume, Effectiveness, Urinary bladder, Interquartile range, Spinal cord injury, 2012, Result


Objective:To evaluate the clinical and urodynamic impact of intravesical electrostimulation (IVES) on incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) patients suffering from chronic neurogenic non-obstructive urinary retention (N-NOR).Methods:One-hundred and two patients underwent at least 28 consecutive daily IVES sessions because objective evidence of detrusor acontractility instead of hypocontractility was detected. Diary entries written at various stages by each patient were compared (7 days before the IVES cycle, 15-21 days into the cycle and 7 days before its end). Responders were patients with a mean 50% reduction in both the number of daily catheterizations and post-void residual urine. Responders underwent further urodynamics at the end of the IVES cycle; patients experiencing first sensation of bladder filling, and the mean volume of first sensation of bladder filling per ml, Qmax ml s(-1), among others, were evaluated. Nineteen individuals who repeated another IVES round were included in this study.Results:Thirty-eight subjects (37.2%) responded to IVES and of those, 83.3% recovered the first sensation of bladder filling after the IVES round. Nineteen responders repeated IVES within 1 year, owing to loss of efficacy. They obtained similar voiding symptoms improvement and urodynamic results as after the first IVES cycle. A timespan of <2 years from SCI to IVES, and the presence of first sensation of bladder filling at baseline represented significant predictive parameters for IVES success (P<0.05) using χ(2)-test.Conclusions:IVES represents a possible therapeutic option for incomplete SCI patients with N-NOR.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 13 November 2012; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.120.

Concepts: Urine, Urology, Urinary incontinence, Urinary bladder, Urinary system, Ureter, Urinary retention


Objectives:Perceived risk of falling is an important factor for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). This study investigated the influence of ankle joint motion on postural stability and walking in people with SCI when using an orthosis.Methods:Volunteer subjects with SCI (n=5) participated in this study. Each subject was fitted with an advanced reciprocating gait orthosis (ARGO) equipped with either solid or dorsiflexion-assist type ankle-foot orthosis (AFOs) and walked at their self-selected speed along a flat walkway to enable the comparison of walking speed, cadence and endurance. A force plate system and a modified Falls Efficacy Scale (MFES) were utilized to measure postural sway and the perceived fear of falling, respectively.Results:There were significant differences in the mean MFES scores between two types of orthosis (P=0.023). When using two crutches, there was no significant difference in static standing postural sway in the medio-lateral (M/L) direction (P=0.799), but significant difference in the antero-posterior (A/P) direction (P=0.014). However, during single crutch support, there was a significant difference in both M/L (P=0.019) and A/P (P=0.022) directions. Walking speed (7%) and endurance (5%) significantly increased when using the ARGO with dorsi flexion assisted AFOs. There was no significant deference between two types of orthoses in cadence (P=0.54).Conclusions:Using an ARGO with dorsiflexion-assisted AFOs increased the fear of falling, but improved static postural stability and increased walking speed and endurance, and should therefore be considered as an effective orthosis during the rehabilitation of people with SCI.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 30 July 2013; doi:10.1038/sc.2013.78.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Foot, Cerebral palsy, Running, Walking, Wheelchair, Medical equipment, Ankle-foot orthosis


Study design:one group pre- and post-test design.Objectives:The primary aim was to examine both the short- and long-term effects of an oral home telecare program on improving gingival health among adults with tetraplegia.Methods:Eight adults with tetraplegia participated. The oral home telecare program consisted of individualized oral hygiene training in the use of assistive devices (powered toothbrush and adapted flosser and/or oral irrigator) using personal computer-based videoconferencing between each participant and an occupational therapist. Training was conducted on an average of five 15-30 min sessions across 3 months. During these training sessions, supervised practice of oral hygiene, and provision of immediate corrective feedback and positive reinforcement in the use of adaptive oral hygiene devices was emphasized. Gingival health assessment using the Löe-Silness gingival index (LSGI) was conducted at baseline, 6 and 12 months.Results:From baseline to 6 months, participants showed statistically significant differences (that is, improvement with less gingival inflammation) in their LSGI scores (z=2.18, P=.03). From baseline to 12 months, participants also showed a statistically significant difference (that is, improvement, z=2.03; P=0.04) in their LSGI scores.Conclusion:This study indicates that preventive oral home telecare with repeated oral hygiene training in the use of adaptive devices improved gingival health at 6 and 12 months among adults with tetraplegia.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 15 January 2013; doi:10.1038/sc.2012.176.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Statistical significance, Periodontitis, Oral hygiene, Assistive technology, Gingivitis, Dental floss


Study Design:This is a longitudinal design study.Objectives:The objective of this study was to determine factors that predict resilience in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) at discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and after reintegration into the community 6 months post discharge.Setting:This study was conducted in SCI rehabilitation units and the community in New South Wales, Australia.Methods:Participants included 88 adults with SCI admitted over almost 3 years into three SCI Units in Sydney. Standardized self-report and clinician-based measures were used. Longitudinal assessment occurred up to 6 months post discharge. Sociodemographic, injury and psychological variables were assessed at admission, before discharge and 6 months post discharge. Standard multiple regression was used to determine factors that predict resilience at discharge from hospital and 6 months post discharge.Results:Almost 70% of the participants were classified as resilient at discharge and 66% after 6 months of living in the community. Multiple factors significantly predicted resilience at discharge and 6 months post discharge, including self-efficacy, low levels of negative mood and lower functional independence, whereas social support and low severity of secondary conditions trended to significance. Demographic and injury variables did not contribute significantly.Conclusion:Self-efficacy and low levels of negative mood states strongly contribute to resilience. The determination of these predictors will assist in improving rehabilitation programs to strengthen the resilience of people with SCI. However, given that 40-44% of the variance in resilience was explained by the group of factors entered, future longitudinal research is needed to determine not only whether resilience correlates but also whether these associations change over time.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 24 February 2015; doi:10.1038/sc.2015.32.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Prediction, Futurology, Sociology, Repeated measures design, Forecasting


Study design:Prospective multiple case study.Objectives:To test (1) the feasibility of haptic robot technology (Haptic Master (HM)) use to improve arm-hand function (AHF) and arm-hand skill performance (AHSP) in persons with a cervical spinal cord injury (C-SCI), (2) inventory participants' motivation and expectation to work with the robot technology used and (3) to descriptively report the results in individual cases.Setting:Rehabilitation Centre.Methods:Five C-SCI patients were trained for 6 weeks, 3 days per week, 60 min per day. Therapists filled out the Usefulness, Satisfaction and Ease-of-use questionnaire (USE). The Intrinsic Motivational Inventory (IMI) and credibility and expectancy questionnaire (CEQ) were filled out by participants. Performance at activity level was gauged using the Van Lieshout test for AHF in Tetraplegia and the Spinal Cord Independence Measure. Function level was gauged using muscle strength testing and the International Classification for Surgery of the Hand in Tetraplegia.Results:As to the feasibility of the application of haptic robot technology, the mean USE score was 65%. Mean IMI and CEQ results were 67% and 60%, respectively. Participants were motivated to train with the HM. All participants rated credibility higher than expectations regarding the improvement. In the current patients, little progress was demonstrated at the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health function and the activity level.Conclusion:It is feasible to train C-SCI persons with the HM. Therapists report that working with the HM is easy to learn and easy to perform. Usability of the HM may be improved. Further research is needed to assess in which group of C-SCI and at which stage of rehabilitation HM training may be most beneficial.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 3 February 2015; doi:10.1038/sc.2014.250.

Concepts: Better, Spinal cord, Improve, Skill, Training, Arithmetic mean, Motivation, Expectation


Study design:Cross-sectional study.Objective:To evaluate the long-term effect of the sacral anterior root stimulator (SARS) on neurogenic bowel dysfunction in a large, well defined spinal cord injury (SCI) cohort.Setting:Department of Neuro-Urology, Bad Wildungen, Germany.Methods:Subjects undergone surgery at for SARS-SDAF (sacral deafferentation) between September 1986 and July 2011 (n=587) answered a questionnaire. In total, 277 SARS subjects were available for the baseline (recall) and follow-up comparison.Results:Median age was 49 years (range: 19-80), time from SCI to surgery was 10 years (range: 0-49) and from surgery to follow-up 13 (range: 1-25). Of the responders 73% used SARS for bowel emptying. On visual analog scale (VAS) ranging from 0-10 (best), satisfaction with SARS was 10. Baseline and follow-up comparison showed a decline in the median VAS score 0-10 (worst) for bowel symptoms from 6 (range: 4-8) to 4 (range: 2-6), P<0.0001; median neurogenic bowel dysfunction score from 17 (range: 11-2) to 11 (range: 9-15), P<0.0001; median St Marks score from 4 (range: 0-7) to 4 (range: 0-5), P=0.01; and median Cleveland constipation score from 7 (range: 6-10) to 6 (range: 4-8), P<0.0001. Use of suppositories, digital evacuation and mini enema and subjects totally dependent on assistance during defecation were significantly lower after SARS.Conclusions:The SARS has the potential to be one of the few treatment methods targeting multiple organ dysfunctions following SCI.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 20 January 2015; doi:10.1038/sc.2015.2.

Concepts: Constipation, Visual analogue scale, Spinal cord injury, Defecation, Dysfunction, Enema, 1986, Sacral anterior root stimulator


Abdominal functional electrical stimulation (abdominal FES) is the application of a train of electrical pulses to the abdominal muscles, causing them to contract. Abdominal FES has been used as a neuroprosthesis to acutely augment respiratory function and as a rehabilitation tool to achieve a chronic increase in respiratory function after abdominal FES training, primarily focusing on patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). This study aimed to review the evidence surrounding the use of abdominal FES to improve respiratory function in both an acute and chronic manner after SCI.

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Meta-analysis, Neuroprosthetics, Functional electrical stimulation


To describe the process and outcomes of using a new evidence base to develop scientific guidelines that specify the type and minimum dose of exercise necessary to improve fitness and cardiometabolic health in adults with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Concepts: Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review