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Risk of cardiovascular disease after spinal injury, a follow-up study

Research project In Sweden, 120-150 people/year suffer from traumatic spinal injury (SCI). Acute post-SCI mortality rate is 3%. However, there is a higher risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. There is also a significant increased risk (8.5 times) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to the normal population, as well as frequent pain and depression.

It is unclear how different clinical variables and markers used today should be evaluated as risk factors in the patient group. Osteoporosis may also contribute to an increased risk of CVD. It is also unclear how prevention should be conducted. The patient group is heterogeneous, with complete/incomplete, high/low injuries, spasmodic/sagging paralysis. The overall aim of this project has been to identify and evaluate risk markers for cardiovascular disease (cardiovascular disease – CVD) with clinically useful measurement methods relevant for patients with traumatic spinal injury (Spinal Cord Injury – SCI). Risk markers that have been identified and valued were blood lipids, blood sugar, blood pressure, inflammatory parameters, vitamin D/SE, body composition (DXA) and BMI. This is to detect individuals who are at risk of CVD and to provide the basis for preventive measures such as the care program for the specific patient group. The continuation of the study will be to identify the progression of this patient group regarding the above risk markers, excluding vitamin D/SE and DXA. Internationally and nationally, there have been relatively few follow-up studies on SCI´s why there is a great value in the implementation of this type of study. Follow-ups are carried out on patients who participated in the previous study, i.e. it is between four and six years since previous measurement was performed.

Head of project

Peter Flank
Other position

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2018-11-01


Stiftelsen Promobilia

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation

Research subject

Clinical medicine, Public health and health care science

Project description

The need for clinical assessment tools for measuring body weight and prevention with a focus on obesity is large but evidence-based clinical tools are few. In a first study, we have seen, among other things, that BMI does not seem to be used as a clinical assessment instrument, as patients have high blood lipids regardless of BMI level.
Upcoming follow-up projects will continue to identify and evaluate risk markers for CVD with clinical measurement methods relevant to the patient group, to detect individuals who are at risk of CVD, as a basis for preventive measures, and to see how Patients ' risk markers and health evolve over time.
1. What does the progression over time look like in terms of blood lipids, blood glucose, abdominal range, weight/BMI, blood pressure, inflammatory parameters?
2. How does the occurrence of physical activity look like since the previous survey?
3. What does the prevalence of anxiety and depression according to HAD been like since the previous investigation?
4. How do their health trends over time
Collection of data on the 78 patients with traumatic paraplegia and tetraplegia who are on spinal injury monitoring of Neurorehab NUS and who participated in the previous study.
The study can provide knowledge about the development of all parameters over time and a continuation of assessment of clinical tools for the assessment and prevention of risk of CVD