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Am J Emerg Med. 1989 Mar;7(2):139-42.

Incidence of cervical spine injuries in association with blunt head trauma.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ 85010.


To establish an incidence of cervical spine injuries in significant blunt head trauma and to evaluate the necessity of using cervical radiography, all consecutive cases of blunt head trauma admitted to the trauma service over a 7-month period were reviewed. Two hundred twenty-eight charts were reviewed for demographic information, circumstance of injury, complaints and physical findings referable to the cervical spine, presenting level of consciousness, severity of head injury, and cervical spine radiographic findings. Only three patients were found to have cervical spine injuries, for an incidence of 1.7%. Of the 122 alert and asymptomatic patients, none had cervical spine injury. The patient population was defined, yet the very low incidence of cervical spine injuries associated with blunt head trauma in this study precludes any identification of predictors. Nevertheless, the results suggest that alert and asymptomatic patients can be spared cervical spine radiography.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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