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Am J Surg. 2015 Feb;209(2):363-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.07.016. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

Predictors of the necessity for early tracheostomy in patients with acute cervical spinal cord injury: a 15-year experience.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado Denver, 777 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204, USA.
2
Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado Denver, 777 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204, USA. Electronic address: clay.cothren@dhha.org.
3
Department of Orthopedics, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The need for mechanical ventilation (MV) after spinal cord injury (SCI) is a risk factor for prolonged critical care. The "purpose" of this study was to identify the level of cervical SCI that requires MV, thereby defining candidates for tracheostomy.

METHODS:

Patients with cervical SCI over a 15-year period were reviewed.

RESULTS:

One hundred sixty-three patients sustained cervical SCI. Of 76 complete injuries, 91% required MV for greater than 48 hours. By injury level, MV incidence was 100% for C2-4, 91% for C5, 79% for C6, and 80% for C7. Only one quarter of patients with incomplete SCI required MV for greater than 48 hours; Glascow Coma Score and Injury Severity Score were significantly worse compared with patients not requiring MV.

CONCLUSIONS:

Factors influencing the decision for tracheostomy in cervical SCI patients include the presence of a complete SCI, anatomic level of injury, Glascow Coma Score, Injury Severity Score, and associated thoracic injury. Patients with complete cervical SCI often require prolonged MV. Conversely, the minority of incomplete SCI required MV; the need for tracheostomy was likely performed for associated injuries. Utilizing identified factors permits a thoughtful approach to tracheostomy in this patient population.

KEYWORDS:

Cervical spine; Prolonged ventilation; Spinal cord injury; Tracheostomy; Trauma

PMID:
25457250
DOI:
10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.07.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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