In previous articles on the Stockholm Spinal Cord Injury Study (SSCIS), we have reported the frequent occurrence of medical problems in a near-total regional SCI population comprising 353 subject. This present study further investigates health-related issues in this SCI population, by a level-of-living survey that has been used annually on 8000-14,000 Swedes since 1974. The health-focused version of this survey was used for data collection in those 326 subjects in the SSCIS who were residents of the Greater Stockholm area. Subjects of the SSCIS living on the island of Gotland were excluded because they represented a sociodemographically different (rural) population. The normative material consisted of 1978 interviews of residents of the Greater Stockholm area, provided by the Swedish Bureau of Statistics. Results show a higher utilisation of health care resources among SCI subjects, shown by higher rates of long-term sick leave and sick pension, and more treatment as inpatients, emergency room attendees, and outpatients. Pain, bladder problems, and psychological symptoms are more commonly reported by SCI subjects. Medications such as antibiotics, analgesics, sedatives, hypnotics and laxatives are used more frequently in the SCI group. In contrast, no statistically significant differences were found as regards reported prevalence of diseases other than SCI, including diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease. The results thus verify the impression from our previous studies of a clearly increased morbidity among these SCI subjects. The increased morbidity seems to be accounted for by the SCI itself, or conditions directly caused by it.
1995. Vol. 33, no 12, 726-30 p.