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J Trauma. 1991 Jul;31(7):1001-5; discussion 1005-6.

A prospective analysis of a two-year experience using computed tomography as an adjunct for cervical spine clearance.

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  • 1Trauma Program, Hartford Hospital, CT 06115.

Abstract

The role of CT scanning as an adjunct to plain roentgenograms of the cervical spine was reviewed in acutely injured blunt trauma patients. Following institution of a protocol to evaluate the cervical spine in all blunt trauma patients, 179 patients underwent CT scanning of their cervical spine. This was performed for patients whose x-ray findings were positive, for patients with plain x-ray films suggestive of a pathologic condition, for patients with plain x-ray films that did not reveal all of the cervical vertebrae, and for patients who had persistent pain or neurologic deficits despite normal plain x-ray films. Of 123 patients not able to have their cervical spine cleared by normal roentgenograms, 93% were cleared within 24 hours of admission based on CT scans. There were no missed injuries in this setting. A false-positive rate of 28% and a false-negative rate of 1.5% were found for plain roentgenograms. Computed tomographic scans detected 98% of the injuries in our study and when combined with a three-view plain x-ray series of the cervical spine, 100% of cervical spine injuries were detected. Computed tomographic scanning as an adjunct to plain x-ray films of the cervical spine is a highly accurate and expedient modality to clear the cervical spine of blunt trauma patients.

PMID:
2072419
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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