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J Trauma. 2009 Nov;67(5):936-43. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181a8b431.

Epidemiology and clinical outcomes of acute spine trauma and spinal cord injury: experience from a specialized spine trauma center in Canada in comparison with a large national registry.

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Spinal Program, Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada.



Because relevant changes in the epidemiology of the traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has been reported, we sought to examine the demographics, injury characteristics, and clinical outcomes of patients with spine trauma who have been treated in our spine trauma center.


All consecutive patients with acute spine trauma who were admitted in our center from 1996 to 2007 were included. Comparisons among the four triennia were performed for demographics, injury characteristics, and clinical outcomes. Also, our 2001/2002 SCI data were compared with the National Trauma Registry (NTR) dataset.


There were 569 patients (394 males, 175 females; ages from 15 to 102 years, mean age of 50 years) who were admitted with acute spine trauma. Although demographic profile has been steady over the last four triennia, the frequency of more severe spine trauma at the lumbosacral levels due to falls has increased overtime. The mean length of stay and in-hospital mortality rates have not significantly changed during the past 12 years. Our in-hospital mortality rate (4%) was significantly lower than the provincial rate from the Ontario Trauma Registry (7.5%; p = 0.005). Comparisons between our SCI data and the NTR dataset showed significant differences regarding age groups.


Our results indicate that significant differences in the characteristics of acute spine trauma but not demographics have occurred overtime in our institution. Also, there were significant differences between our database and the NTR regarding age distribution. Our reduced in-hospital mortality rates in comparison with the provincial data reinforce the recommendations for early management of SCI patients in a spine trauma center.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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