Spinal Cord
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May 2001, Volume 39, Number 5, Pages 279-282
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Original Article
Does a colostomy alter quality of life in patients with spinal cord injury? A controlled study
N Randell2, A C Lynch2, A Anthony1, B R Dobbs2, J A Roake2 and F A Frizelle2

1Spinal Injury Unit, Burwood Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand

2Department of Surgery, Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand

Correspondence to: F A Frizelle, Colorectal Unit, Department of Surgery, Christchurch Hospital, Riccarton Ave, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Study design: Prospective controlled comparative analysis.

Objective: To determine whether a colostomy changes quality of life in patients with a spinal cord injury.

Method: A previously validated questionnaire designed to assess quality of life in spinal injured patients (Burwood Questionnaire) was sent to 26 spinal cord injured patients with colostomies and 26 spinal cord injured patients without colostomy. The two groups were matched for level of injury, completeness of injury, length of time since injury, age (±5 years) and gender.

Results: There was 100% completion of the questionnaire. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the two groups of patients in regard to their general well being, emotional, social, or work functioning.

Conclusions: Patients with colostomy following spinal injury are no worse off in regard to quality of life, than those without. The inference is that perhaps a colostomy should be considered earlier in patients with major bowel dysfunction following spinal cord injury.

Sponsorship: Financial support for Dr AC Lynch was provided by Royal Australian College of Surgeons with a Foundation Scholarship and Grant in aid by the Burwood International Spinal Trust. Mr N Randell was supported by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation with a summer studentship.

Spinal Cord (2001) 39, 279-282.


spinal cord injury; bowel function; quality of life; stoma; colostomy

May 2001, Volume 39, Number 5, Pages 279-282
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF