Study design: Retrospective Cohort Study Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognosis of respiratory function in elderly patients with cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) and to identify predictive factors. Methods: We included 1353 cases of elderly cervical SCI patients collected from 78 institutions in Japan. Patients who required early tracheostomy and ventilator management and those who developed respiratory complications were defined as the respiratory disability group. Patients’ background characteristics, injury mechanism, injury form, neurological disability, complications, and treatment methods were compared between the disability and non-disability groups. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to examine the independent factors. Patients who required respiratory management for 6 months or longer after injury and those who died of respiratory complications were classified into the severe disability group and were compared with minor cases who were weaned off the respirator. Results: A total of 104 patients (7.8%) had impaired respiratory function. Comparisons between the disabled and non-disabled groups and between the severe and mild injury groups yielded distinct trends. In multiple logistic regression analysis, age, blood glucose level, presence of ossification of posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), anterior vertebral hematoma, and critical paralysis were selected as independent risk factors. Conclusion: Age, OPLL, severe paralysis, anterior vertebral hematoma, hypoalbuminemia, and blood glucose level at the time of injury were independent factors for respiratory failure. Hyperglycemia may have a negative effect on respiratory function in this condition.
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