Healthcare utilization and outcomes of spinal cord injured veterans with stage III–IV pressure injuries

Dominique Van Beest, Shannon J. Koh, Yi Ting Tzen, Jijia Wang, Dindi Moore-Matthews, Jennifer S. Kargel, James B. Cutrell, Roger J. Bedimo, Bridget R. Bennett, Wei Han Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Pressure injuries (PI) are a significant source of morbidity for individuals with spinal cord injury/disease (SCI/D). They are also associated with significant healthcare resource utilization including prolonged hospitalizations. However, the long-term outcomes in terms of wound recurrence-free survival, hospital readmission rates, and all-cause mortality in this population remain largely unknown. Objective: To examine the clinical characteristics, healthcare utilization and outcomes of SCI Veterans hospitalized at the VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) SCI inpatient unit with stage 3 and 4 PI, and compare these between those who received a myocutaneous flap surgery (flap patients (FP)) and those treated medically (non-flap patients (NFP)). Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of all adult patients admitted to the VANTHCS SCI/D unit with stage 3 or 4 pelvic PI between 1/1/2013 and 12/31/2018. Healthcare utilization and outcome information was extracted for pre-specified time points. Results: 78 patients met criteria (113 hospitalizations; 27 FP; 51 NFP). Average length of stay (LOS) was 122 days; FP had a significantly higher LOS than NFP (P = 0.01). Average number of consults was 24. Estimated cost per hospitalization was $175,198. Readmission rate within 30 days was 12.39%. The mortality rate within 1 year of discharge was 21.57% for NFP, as opposed to 3.70% in the FP group. Only 5.00% of NFP wounds were healed at discharged with sustained healing at 1 year, significantly less than FP wounds (55.26%, P < 0.01). Conclusions: Despite the high investment in terms of healthcare utilization, outcomes in terms of wound healing are poor. Additionally, nearly 22% of NFP died within one year of discharge. This calls into question the utility of prolonged hospitalizations for PI in the SCI/D population in terms of wound treatment efficacy, healthcare costs, and patient morbidity/mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Spinal Cord Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Healthcare utilization
  • Myocutaneous flap surgery
  • Outcomes
  • Pressure injuries
  • Pressure injury
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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