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Clinical Features of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a Cohort of Patients with Disability due to Spinal Cord Injury

Published time: 13 May 2020

Authors: Miguel Rodríguez-Cola, Irena Jiménez-Velasco, Francisco Gutiérrez-Henares, Elisa López-Dolado, Claudia Gambarrutta-Malfatti, Eduardo Vargas-Baquero & Ángel Gil-Agudo

Keywords: Covid-19, spinal cord, SCI population, disability


Study design

Cohort study of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).


To describe the clinical and analytical features of a coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infected cohort with SCI to enable accurate diagnosis and to outline prevention measures.


This study was conducted at the National Hospital for Paraplegics (Toledo, Spain).


A cohort analysis of seven patients with SCI infected by Covid-19 was performed. Diagnosis was confirmed with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of nasal exudate or sputum samples. Clinical, analytical, and radiographic findings were registered.


RT-PCR detected COVID-19 infection in all patients, affecting males and people with a cervical level of injury more often (five out of seven). The average delay for diagnostic confirmation was 4 days (interquartile range, 1–10). Fever was the most frequent symptom (six out of seven). The second most common symptom was asthenia (four out of seven), followed by dyspnea, cough, and expectoration (three out of seven for each symptom). The Modified Early Warning System score for Covid-19 severity rating was classified as severe in five out of seven cases. All but one patient showed radiological alterations evident in chest X-rays at the time of diagnosis. All patients recovered gradually.


Our patients with SCI and Covid-19 infection exhibited fewer symptoms than the general population. Furthermore, they presented similar or greater clinical severity. The clinical evolution was not as pronounced as had been expected. This study recommends close supervision of the SCI population to detect early compatible signs and symptoms of Covid-19 infection.

Clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in a cohort of patients with disability due to spinal cord injury



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