Overview of the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center database

Academic Article


  • Objective: An evaluation of the history, design, and status of the database of the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) was undertaken to identify its continued relevance. Research Design: A systematic review was conducted of goals, content, and quality control procedures, as well as its suitability and public availability for conducting future epidemiologic and health services research. Results: The NSCISC database contains information on approximately 29,000 persons injured since 1973 and treated at any regional model spinal cord injury system within 1 year of injury. The NSCISC database is structured longitudinally with data collected at discharge, 1 year after injury, 5 years after injury, and every 5 years thereafter. The database includes information on demographics, injury severity, medical complications, surgical procedures, types and a mounts of therapy, length of stay, charges, and both short-term and long-term treatment outcomes. Strengths include large sample size, use of valid and reliable measures, geographic and patient diversity, comprehensiveness, availability of long-term prospective follow-up information, good case identification, and rigorous quality control procedures. Limitations include lack of population basis, inclusion of only model system patients, losses to follow-up, and other missing data. Recent content additions include detailed information on each treatment phase, depression, substance abuse, environmental barriers to community integration, and patient identifying information. A process exists for researchers to gain access to the data. Conclusions: The database remains a valuable resource. Future plans include linkage to other databases to enhance research capability, a published research compendium, and development of a user's guide to facilitate database usage.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • DeVivo MJ; Go BK; Jackson AB
  • Start Page

  • 335
  • End Page

  • 338
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 4