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J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Apr;39(4):607-12.

Spinal injuries in children.

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1
Pediatric Division, Department of Neurosurgery; Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:

Traumatic spinal injury (TSI) is an uncommon source of morbidity and mortality in children. The aim of this study was to describe childhood TSI in a single level 1 urban pediatric trauma center.

METHODS:

The authors retrospectively analyzed all children younger than 14 years with TSI, treated at a level I pediatric trauma center between 1991 and 2002 (n = 406, 4% total registry). All children were stratified according to demographics, mechanisms, type and level of injury, radiologic evaluations, associated injuries, and mortality.

RESULTS:

The mean age was 9.48 +/- 3.81 years. The most common overall mechanism of injury was motor vehicle crash (MVC; 29%) and ranked highest for infants. Falls ranked highest for ages 2 to 9 years. Sports ranked highest in the 10 to 14 year age group. Paravertebral soft tissue injuries were 68%. The most common injury level was the high cervical spine (O-C4). The incidence of spinal cord injury without radiologic abnormality (SCIWORA) was 6%. Traumatic brain injury (37%) was the most common associated injury. Overall mortality rate was 4% in this urban catchment.

CONCLUSIONS:

TSI in children requires a different preventive and therapeutic logarithm compared with that of adults. The potential devastating nature of TSI warrants that the health care team always maintains a high index of suspicion for injury. Future prospective studies are needed to further elucidate injury patterns.

PMID:
15065038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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