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Concepts of aging with paralysis: Implications for recovery and treatment


Wirz, M; Dietz, V (2012). Concepts of aging with paralysis: Implications for recovery and treatment. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 109:77-84.

Abstract

This chapter deals with the impact of age on the occurrence, clinical presentation, outcome, and course of a spinal cord injury (SCI). This is of importance in a society where the population of elderly people continuously increases. The chapter is focused first, on the actual problems of a SCI in elderly subjects and second, on age-specific sequelae after a SCI. The etiology and clinical presentation of a SCI differs in elderly subjects compared to young subjects. With advanced age, incomplete cervical lesions following falls or due to spondylotic degeneration of the cervical spine and non-traumatic SCI occur more frequently. Research pertaining to the comparison of different age groups is prone to bias due to survival and treatment cohort effects. There is an increased risk of complications and mortality after a complete SCI in elderly people. Surprisingly, the recovery of the neurological deficit does not depend on age. However, elderly subjects with SCI have more problems in transferring an improvement in motor score into a functional improvement in their ability to carry out the activities of daily living. With increasing age after a SCI the completeness and level of injury determine the occurrence of complications and outcome restrictions. In addition, problems in general health (e.g., in circulation, kidney function, diabetes mellitus) may affect the functional independence of elderly subjects with SCI.

Abstract

This chapter deals with the impact of age on the occurrence, clinical presentation, outcome, and course of a spinal cord injury (SCI). This is of importance in a society where the population of elderly people continuously increases. The chapter is focused first, on the actual problems of a SCI in elderly subjects and second, on age-specific sequelae after a SCI. The etiology and clinical presentation of a SCI differs in elderly subjects compared to young subjects. With advanced age, incomplete cervical lesions following falls or due to spondylotic degeneration of the cervical spine and non-traumatic SCI occur more frequently. Research pertaining to the comparison of different age groups is prone to bias due to survival and treatment cohort effects. There is an increased risk of complications and mortality after a complete SCI in elderly people. Surprisingly, the recovery of the neurological deficit does not depend on age. However, elderly subjects with SCI have more problems in transferring an improvement in motor score into a functional improvement in their ability to carry out the activities of daily living. With increasing age after a SCI the completeness and level of injury determine the occurrence of complications and outcome restrictions. In addition, problems in general health (e.g., in circulation, kidney function, diabetes mellitus) may affect the functional independence of elderly subjects with SCI.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:19 Dec 2012 16:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:11
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0072-9752
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-52137-8.00005-X
PubMed ID:23098707

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