Secondary conditions following spinal cord injury have been well described in the literature and have a documented impact on morbidity and mortality. Many of these conditions are potentially preventable and/or amenable to treatment, with the best outcome in the latter case when treatment is applied early. An epidemiologic approach to secondary conditions attempts to identify factors that can be used to develop risk models for their development, which in turn can be useful to clinicians for monitoring, early identification, and treatment. In this article, we review the literature describing risk factors for five major secondary conditions (chronic pain, respiratory complications, urinary tract infections, pressure sores, and depression) and offer suggestions for clinical monitoring and research.

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