Background: Spinal cord injury (SCI) is impairment of the spinal cord resulting in numerous health problems that considerably affect the quality of life (QOL) of the patients. Moreover, a number of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics may influence the persons’ health-related quality of life (HRQOL). However, there is limited information on the HRQOL and related characteristics among affected persons living in Nigeria. This study explores the HRQOL and related characteristics of persons with SCI in Kano, Northwestern Nigeria.
Methods: A prospective cross-sectional survey of 41 subjects with SCI and 40 age and gender matched healthy subjects was conducted from January to December 2016. Subjects' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and HRQOL (using the SF-36 questionnaire) were collected and analyzed.
Results: The majority of the subjects were men in both the SCI (85.4%) and healthy (82.5%) groups. The mean injury duration was 28.4 ± 20.2 months. Road traffic accident (46.3%) was the leading cause of injury with paraplegia (70.7%) being the most frequent level of injury. A greater number of the subjects (43.9%) had a complete impairment. Subjects with SCI had significantly lower HRQOL in the domains of general health, physical functioning, bodily pain, social functioning, role-emotional, and mental health compared to healthy controls. Gender, level of injury, and severity of injury were commonly found to be related to lower HRQOL scores.
Conclusion: Persons with SCI from Kano, Northwestern Nigeria have lower HRQOL across various domains compared to healthy controls. Common factors related to lower HRQOL scores were gender, level of injury, and severity of injury. There is a need for optimal rehabilitation for persons with SCI in Kano, Northwestern Nigeria.