Objectives: Fourteen-day rehospitalization with new traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) diagnosis is used as an indicator for the diagnostic quality of the first hospitalization. In this nationwide population-based cohort study, we identified risk factors for this indicator. Methods: We conducted a nested case–control study by using the data of patients who received a first hospitalization for trauma between 2001 and 2011. The data were retrieved from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database. Variables including demographic and trauma characteristics were compared between patients diagnosed with tSCI at the first hospitalization and those receiving a 14-day rehospitalization with new tSCI diagnosis. Results: Of the 23 617 tSCI patients, 997 had 14-day rehospitalization with new tSCI diagnosis (incidence rate, 4.22%). The risk of 14-day rehospitalization with new tSCI diagnosis was significantly lower in patients with severe (injury severity score [ISS] = 16–24; odds ratio [OR], 0.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.13–0.21) and profound (ISS > 24; OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.07–0.18) injuries. Interhospital transfer (OR, 8.20; 95% CI, 6.48–10.38) was a significant risk factor, along with injuries at the thoracic (OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.21–2.18), lumbar (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.02–1.65), and multiple (OR, 3.23; 95% CI, 1.86–5.61) levels. Brain (OR, 2.82), chest (OR, 2.99), and abdominal (OR, 2.74) injuries were also identified as risk factors. In addition, the risk was higher in patients treated at the orthopedic department (OR, 2.26; 95% CI, 1.78–2.87) and those of other surgical disciplines (OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.57–2.28) than in those treated at the neurosurgery department. Conclusions: Delayed tSCI diagnoses are not uncommon, particularly among trauma patients with ISSs < 16 or those who are transferred from lower-level hospitals. Further validation and implementation of evidence-based decision rules is essential for improving the diagnostic quality of traumatic thoracolumbar SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0184253
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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