Author(s): Cirak B, Ziegfeld S, Knight VM, Chang D, Avellino AM,
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Abstract BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: Traumatic spinal injury (TSI) is an uncommon source of morbidity and mortality in children. The aim of this study was to describe childhood TSI in a single level 1 urban pediatric trauma center. METHODS: The authors retrospectively analyzed all children younger than 14 years with TSI, treated at a level I pediatric trauma center between 1991 and 2002 (n = 406, 4\% total registry). All children were stratified according to demographics, mechanisms, type and level of injury, radiologic evaluations, associated injuries, and mortality. RESULTS: The mean age was 9.48 +/- 3.81 years. The most common overall mechanism of injury was motor vehicle crash (MVC; 29\%) and ranked highest for infants. Falls ranked highest for ages 2 to 9 years. Sports ranked highest in the 10 to 14 year age group. Paravertebral soft tissue injuries were 68\%. The most common injury level was the high cervical spine (O-C4). The incidence of spinal cord injury without radiologic abnormality (SCIWORA) was 6\%. Traumatic brain injury (37\%) was the most common associated injury. Overall mortality rate was 4\% in this urban catchment. CONCLUSIONS: TSI in children requires a different preventive and therapeutic logarithm compared with that of adults. The potential devastating nature of TSI warrants that the health care team always maintains a high index of suspicion for injury. Future prospective studies are needed to further elucidate injury patterns.
This article was published in J Pediatr Surg
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research