eISSN: 2720-5371
ISSN: 1230-2813
Advances in Psychiatry and Neurology/Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii
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vol. 29
Original paper

Quality of life in patients with tetraplegia and paraplegia after traumatic spinal cord injury

Justyna Frasuńska
1, 2
Beata Tarnacka
1, 2
Piotr Wojdasiewicz
2, 3

Department of Rehabilitation, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Rehabilitation, Eleonora Reicher National Institute of Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Warsaw, Poland
Department of General and Experimental Pathology, Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology (CePT), Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Adv Psychiatry Neurol 2020; 29 (3): 143-153
Online publish date: 2020/12/11
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The study compares the quality of life (QOL) in tetra- and paraplegic patients over the first 3 years after injury. An additional goal is to determine whether there is correlation between selected factors based on medical records, the WHOQOL-BREF (World Health Organization Quality of Life – short version of the questionnaire), and the SIP68 (Sickness Impact Profile – short version of the questionnaire) scales and these groups of patients.

Material and methods
A total of 72 patients with locomotor disability, following spinal cord injury (SCI), were involved in the study. Patients completed the WHOQOL-BREF and SIP68 scales. The comparative analysis between the paraplegic (n = 33) and tetraplegic (n = 39) group, and correlations between selected factors based on medical records and the above-mentioned scales was made.

There were statistically significant differences in the assessment of SIP68 subscales: the somatic autonomy score was higher in paraplegic patients and the social behavior and mobility range scores were higher in patients with tetraplegia. Correlations between total WHOQOL-BREF score and ability to concentrate, refraining from any recreational activity, lack of gait and no professional activity were noticed in tetraplegia patients. Statistical significance was observed in correlations between total WHOQOL-BREF score and inability to bathe and get dressed without assistance, doing the washing, shopping and reduced socializing in paraplegia patients.

The presented differences in the assessment of QOL between both patient groups revealed the specific social, psychological and physical needs of patients. This is necessary for the development of effective treatment, depending on the level of injury, which may enable a faster return to optimal QOL for SCI patients.


quality of life, spinal cord injury, tetraplegia, paraplegia

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