Risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes complications among veterans with spinal cord injury

Ranjana Banerjea, Usha Sambamoorthi, Frances Weaver, Miriam Maney, Leonard M. Pogach, Thomas Findley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objectives: To compare the rates of diabetes and macrovascular conditions in veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) and to examine variations by patient-level demographic, socioeconomic, access, and health status factors. Design: A retrospective analysis. Diabetes status was classified by merging with diabetes epidemiology cohort using a validated algorithm. Chi-square tests and logistic regressions used to compare rates in macro- and microvascular conditions in veterans with and without diabetes. Setting: Veteran Health Administration clinic users in fiscal year (FY) 1999 to FY 2001. Participants: SCI patients (N=8769) with diabetes (n=1333), in FY 2000, identified through the SCI registry. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Macrovascular and microvascular conditions in the next year (February 2001). Derived from International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, codes in the patient treatment files. Results: Overall, 15% of SCI veterans were identified with diabetes but this was an underestimate due to high mortality (8%). Among SCI veterans with diabetes, 49% had at least one macrovascular condition and 54% had microvascular conditions compared with 24% and 25% of those without diabetes (P<.001). Conclusions: Our study highlights the highly significant relationship between diabetes and macro- and microvascular conditions in veterans with SCI. Neurologic deficit combined with increased insulin resistance has a greater macrovascular impact on SCI veterans than on those who do not have diabetes. Increasing age and physical comorbidities compound the problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1448-1453
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Veterans


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