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Background: The study aimed to assess the perceived quality of life of patients with traumatic spinal cord injuries.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional study conducted in the Spine Unit of a tertiary hospital in Uganda. The study population comprised of patients with spinal cord injuries. Data were collected using the WHO Quality of Life Brief questionnaire and Functional Independence Measure tool.
Results: 103 patients participated in the study, most were male (73.8%), and had a mean age of 37.7 years. Most participants were married (57.3%), unemployed (72.8%) and had no steady source of income (62.1%). Road traffic accidents accounted for most injuries (59.2%). The mean duration since injury was 20.5 months. Most participants (58.3%) had incomplete spinal cord injuries and 84.5% had complications. The perceived overall quality of life was poor in 87.4% of patients. Being employed (p= 0.02), the presence of complications (p= 0.03), and injury severity (p= 0.003) significantly affected quality of life. Functional independent measure scores were significantly better in individuals less severe injuries and those with lumbar level of injury with mean scores of 113.1±8.9 and 99.9±15.3 respectively.
Conclusion: The overall self-reported quality of life among patients with traumatic spinal cord injury was generally poor.
Keywords: Quality of life; traumatic injury; spinal cord.