Observational cohort study.
To benchmark all-cause and cause-specific mortality following NTSCI to the general population (GP).
Specialized rehabilitation centers in Switzerland.
Longitudinal data from the Swiss Spinal Cord Injury (SwiSCI) Medical Record study were probabilistically linked with cause of death (CoD) information from the Swiss National Cohort. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were estimated for all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Competing risk frameworks were used to estimate the probability of death due to specific CoD.
One thousand five hundred and one individuals were admitted for first rehabilitation with NTSCI between 1990-2011; CoD information was available for 454 individuals of the 525 individuals that died. Overall, the mortality rate for persons with NTSCI was 1.6 times greater than that of the GP. Deaths due to cardiovascular disease (39.8%), neoplasms (22%), and infection (9.9%) were most often reported. Individuals with an SCI due to a vascular etiology indicated the greatest burden of mortality from infection compared with the GP (SMR 5.4; 95% CI, 3.1 to 9.2).
Cause-specific SMRs varied according to etiology. This supports the need for targeted clinical care and follow-up. Cardiovascular disease, neoplasms, and infection, emerged as main causes of death following NTSCI and should thus be targets for future research and differential clinical management approaches.