Spinal Cord Injuries Among Geriatrics Has Risen Five Times in Last 30 Years

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The number of spinal cord injuries among senior citizens (age 70 and above) has increased five times in the past 30 years, as compared with younger spinal cord injury patients, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Jefferson's Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley recently reported.

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As the population within the United States ages, it is estimated that 20 percent of its population will be older than age 65 by the year 2040, and will likely impact spine surgeons and spinal cord rehabilitation centers as these patients become a larger proportion of the spinal cord injury (SCI) population. The findings were just presented by Jefferson neurological surgeons at a meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. of the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

"Spinal cord injuries in older patients are becoming more prevalent," said James Harrop, M.D, Assistant Professor of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, one of the study's primary investigators. "The mortality of these patients is much greater than younger patients and should be factored in when considering aggressive interventions and counseling families regarding prognosis."

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