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Spinal Cord. 2013 Jun;51(6):461-5. doi: 10.1038/sc.2013.16. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute lung injury in patients with vertebral column fracture(s) and spinal cord injury: a nationwide inpatient sample study.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA.



Retrospective Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) study.


To determine national trends in prevalence, risk factors and mortality for vertebral column fracture (VCF) and spinal cord injury (SCI) patients with and without acute respiratory distress syndrome/acute lung injury (ARDS/ALI).


United States of America, 1988 to 2008.


The NIS was utilized to select 284‚ÄČ612 admissions for VCF with and without acute SCI from 1988 to 2008 based on ICD-9-CM. The data were stratified for in-hospital complications of ARDS/ALI.


Patients with SCI were more likely to develop ARDS/ALI compared with those without (odds ratio (OR): 4.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.7-5.2, P<0.001). Compared with patients with lumbar fractures, those with cervical, thoracic and sacral fractures were more likely to develop ARDS/ALI (P<0.001). ARDS/ALI was statistically more prevalent (P<0.01) in VCF/SCI patients with epilepsy, sepsis, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and metabolic disorders. Patients with female gender, surgery at rural practice setting, and coronary artery disease and diabetes were less likely to develop ARDS/ALI (P<0.001). VCF/SCI patients who developed ARDS/ALI were more likely to die in-hospital than those without ARDS/ALI (OR 6.5, 95% CI 6.0-7.1, P<0.001). Predictors of in-hospital mortality after VCF/SCI include: older age, male sex, epilepsy, sepsis, hypertension, CHF, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and liver disease. Patients who developed ARDS/ALI stayed a mean of 25 hospital days (30-440 days) while patients without ARDS/ALI stayed a mean of 6 days (7-868 days, P<0.001).


Our analysis demonstrates that SCI patients are more at risk for ARDS/ALI, which carries a significantly higher risk of mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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