Spinal cord injuries are typically very serious injuries that greatly affect
the life expectancy of the injured person, or the average remaining years
of life. While life expectancies have increased in recent years for victims of
spinal cord injuries, life expectancies still are somewhat lower than for those persons without
spinal cord injuries. The average life expectancy for spinal cord injury
victims also depends on the age of the person at the time of the accident,
as well as the type and severity of the spinal cord injury. Rates of mortality
for spinal cord injury victims are significantly higher during the first
year following the accident than in subsequent years.
Estimated Life Expectancies for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
For instance, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates
that the average life expectancy for a 20-year-old person without a spinal
cord injury is 58.4 years. In contrast, the life expectancy of a person
with a spinal cord injury ranges from 52.6 years for a person who has
some remaining motor function at any level, to 17.1 years for a person
who is dependent upon a ventilator at any level. Likewise, the life expectancy
for a 60-year-old person without a spinal cord injury is 22.2 years, but
the life expectancy of a person with a spinal cord injury at that same
age ranges from 17.7 years to 1.5 years in the case of ventilator dependency.
Therefore, spinal cord injuries definitely have an adverse impact on life
expectancies, with the impact being greater as the severity of the spinal
cord injury increases.
Causes of Death in Spinal Cord Injury Victims
Historically, the most prevalent cause of death in spinal cord injury victims
was renal failure. Strides in urological care, however, have made renal
failure much less common in recent years. Today, the most common causes
of death for spinal cord injury victims are pneumonia, pulmonary emboli
and septicemia, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical
Center. Consequently, these medical conditions stemming from the spinal
cord injury directly affect the life expectancy of the spinal cord injury victim.
When a spinal cord injury occurs due to an accident, the life expectancy
of the victim is almost certain to decline. The victim of a spinal cord
injury incurred in an accident may be entitled to compensation for his
or her losses through a
personal injury claim with the help of a Sarasota accident attorney.