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During 1965 to 1987 45 patients were admitted to the Rehabilitation Hospital in Hornbaek, Denmark because of spinal cord injury (SCI) due to suicide attempts. The proportion of traumatic SCI due to this cause increased significantly during the period: 1965-74: 3.5%, 1975-84: 8%, 1985-87: 13%. The median age at injury was 31 years, and the female to male ratio 1.6. In 38 instances (84%), SCI was caused by jumps from buildings. The neurological level of the lesion was: 7 cervical, 8 thoracic, 22 lumbar; the remaining 8 had minor spinal cord/cauda equina lesions. At the time of the SCI 62% were unemployed or receiving an early pension; 60% were living without a partner; 62% had previously been admitted to psychiatric hospitals, and 31% had previously attempted suicide. A follow up study was conducted in 1988-89. At follow up 11 patients had died, 3 from suicide. Of the 34 alive at follow up, 7 had attempted suicide, and 2 reported suicidal thoughts; 71% were living without a partner; 9% were employed; 18% abused alcohol; 44% had had a psychiatric admission since the SCI; and 56% were taking psychiatric medication.


F Biering-Sørensen, W Pedersen, P G Müller. Spinal cord injury due to suicide attempts. Paraplegia. 1992 Feb;30(2):139-44

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PMID: 1589291

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