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J Trauma. 1991 Jan;31(1):43-8.

Spine trauma and associated injuries.

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1
Division of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Abstract

A longitudinal, prospectively gathered data base of spine trauma has been developed. A review of 508 consecutive hospital admissions identified the presence of associated injuries in 240 (47%) individuals, most frequently involving head (26%), chest (24%), or long bones (23%). Twenty-two per cent had one associated injury, 15% had two, and 10% had three or more. Most spine fractures involved the lower cervical (29%) or thoracolumbar junction (21%). Comparisons of presence or absence of associated injuries and spine fracture level showed significant differences (p less than 0.001). Eighty-two per cent of thoracic fractures and 72% of lumbar fractures had associated injuries compared to 28% of lower cervical spine fractures. While there was no significant relationship between type of associated injury and spine fracture level, those with associated injuries were less likely to have a neural deficit (p less than 0.05). After hospital admission, there were seven deaths. Early assessment and transport of spine trauma victims must be carried out with appropriate management of associated injuries. Conversely, multiple trauma victims must be handled with due regard for a possible spine fracture. The value of spinal units with specially trained personnel is emphasized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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