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J Pediatr Surg. 1994 Nov;29(11):1409-11.

Predictive factors of the outcome of traumatic cervical spine fracture in children.

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Division of Pediatric Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.


The uncommon traumatic cervical spine fractures and dislocations were studied in 227 consecutively treated children (1 to 17 years of age). Lower cervical spine injuries (C-3 to C-7) affected 73% of our patients. However, among the 38 patients younger than 8 years of age, 87% had an injury at the C-3 level or higher (P < .0001). There were 19 fatalities (8.4%), all of which were associated with injuries at the C-4 level or higher. Of the 11 patients with atlanto-axial fracture or dislocation, all died soon after the injury. All had an unstable fracture and cord transection that resulted in cardiorespiratory collapse. Injuries at the vertebral levels C-1, C-2, C-3, and C-4 were associated with fatality rates of 17%, 9%, 4.3%, and 3.7%, respectively. No fatalities were encountered among patients with lesions lower than C-4. The authors conclude that the younger the age, the higher the cervical spine injury, and that the fatality rate correlates directly with the level of cervical spine fracture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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