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Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Feb;18(2):161-5.

Vertical trauma: injuries to patients who fall and land on their feet.

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Section of Trauma and Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.


We reviewed the patterns of injuries sustained by 12 consecutive fallers and jumpers in whom primary impact was onto the feet. The fall heights ranged from 20 to 100 ft. The 12 patients sustained 49 significant injuries. Skeletal injuries were most frequent and included 15 lower extremity fractures, four pelvic fractures, and nine spinal fractures. In two patients, paraplegia resulted. Genitourinary tract injuries included bladder hematoma, renal artery transection, and renal contusion. Thoracic injuries included rib fractures, pneumothorax, and hemothorax. Secondary impact resulted in several craniofacial and upper extremity injuries. Chronic neurologic disability and prolonged morbidity were common. One patient died; the patient who fell 100 ft survived. After initial stabilization, survival is possible after falls or jumps from heights as great as 100 feet It is important to recognize the skeletal and internal organs at risk from high-magnitude vertical forces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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