Traumatic and Non-Traumatic Spinal Cord-Injured Patients in Quebec, Canada: 1. Epidemiological, Clinical and Functional Characteristics

Pascal Rouleau1, 4, Edouard Ayoub2, Pierre A. Guertin*, 1, 2, 3, 4
1 Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec, Neuroscience Unit, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
2 Universite Laval, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
3 Nordic Life Science Pipeline, Quebec City, Canada
4 Neurospina Therapeutics, Quebec City, Canada

© 2011Rouleau et al..

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Laval University Medical Center (CHUL), Neuroscience Unit, RC-9800, 2705 Laurier Boulevard, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; G1V 4G2; Tel: (418) 656-4141 ext. 48831;Fax: (418) 654-2753; E-mail:



Differences between traumatic (TSCI) and non-traumatic (NTSCI) spinal cord-injured patients with comparable geographical and socio-economical background have rarely been studied. The objective was to examine and compare a set of epidemiological, clinical, and functional characteristics in TSCI and NTSCI patients.


This is a community-based, cross-sectional study of medical records from a cohort of one hundred and seventyfive (175) chronic spinal cord-injured patients (94 TSCI and 81 NTSCI individuals) who were treated at the Interval Rehabilitation Center located in Trois-Rivieres, Province of Quebec, Canada.


Clear differences in age, gender, extent and level of injury or associated conditions (also called secondary complications) were found between TSCI and NTSCI patients. Only one (1/81) completely injured patients was identified among the NTSCI group whereas completely injured patients constituted 37.8% of all TSCI patients. The percentage of patients with associated conditions including neurogenic bladder, neurogenic bowel, urinary tract infection, and pressure ulcer problems was significantly greater in TSCI than NTSCI patients. In contrast, a comparable proportion of TSCI and NTSCI patients was experiencing neuropathic pain.


Given these differences between groups as well as regional-specific differences reported in studies from some other countries, it may be suggested that therapeutic approaches developed to treat these health problems and socalled associated conditions could be targeted for specific groups and subgroups of spinal cord-injured patients.

Keywords: Spinal cord injury, spinal disease, incidence, prevalence, functional, clinical.