Background: Cervical spine fractures with spinal cord injury (CFSCI) can be devastating. We describe the epidemiology of children and adolescents with CFSCI. Methods: Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database, we identified 4418 patients (≤18 years old) who had CFSCI from 2000 through 2010. Outcomes of interest were patient characteristics (age, sex), injury characteristics [fracture location, spinal cord injury (SCI) pattern], economic variables (duration of hospital stay, total hospital charges), and mortality. Results: Upper cervical fractures (UCFs) occurred half as often (31.4 %) as lower cervical fractures (LCFs; 68.8 %). Among patients <8 years old, 73.6 % had UCFs; among patients ≥8 years old, 72.3 % had LCFs. Overall, 68.7 % had incomplete SCI, 22.4 % had complete SCI, 6.6 % had central cord syndrome, and 2.3 % had anterior cord syndrome. Patients with complete SCI had the longest hospital stays and highest hospital charges. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 7.3 %, with a sixfold higher rate in patients <8 (30.6 %) vs. those ≥8 (5.1 %) years old (p < 0.001). There was a threefold higher mortality rate in patients with upper (13.5 %) vs. lower (4.3 %) cervical fractures (p < 0.001). Patients with complete SCI had a 1.85-fold higher mortality rate than patients with other cord syndromes (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Patients <8 years old were more likely than older patients to sustain UCFs. Patients with UCFs had a significantly higher mortality rate than those with LCFs. Patients with complete SCI had the longest duration of hospital stay and highest hospital charges and in-hospital mortality rate.
- Cervical spine
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine