JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Abdominal injuries associated with lumbar spine fractures in blunt trauma.

Injury 1999 September
BACKGROUND: Specific analysis of the relationship between abdominal injuries and lumbar spine fractures has not yet been reported.

METHODS: A retrospective review of 258 blunt trauma patients with lumbar spine fractures treated between 1991 and 1996.

RESULTS: 26 patients sustained concomitant lumbar spine fractures and abdominal injuries. The mechanism of injury was motor vehicle collision (73%), pedestrian-struck (11%), fall (8%) and assault (8%) resulting in ISS, RTS and mortality of 27 +/- 4, 6.5 +/- 0.4 and 8%, respectively. Forty-four lumbar spine fractures were identified (1.7/pt) in association with splenic (54%), renal (41%), hepatic (32%) and small bowel (23%) injuries and no retroperitoneal involvement. Multilevel lumbar spine fractures were associated with a higher organ injury/fracture ratio compared with single level fractures (p < 0.01) including a twofold higher incidence of solid organ (spleen, liver and kidney) injury (p < 0.01). The level and type of fracture did not affect the incidence of total and individual organ injury. Patients with abdominal injuries were more severely injured mainly due to increased incidence of associated thoracic injuries although no significant difference in mortality was observed.

CONCLUSION: Abdominal injuries occurred only in the minority of blunt trauma patients with lumbar spine fractures. These injuries, which followed a similar distribution pattern as in blunt trauma in general, occurred most commonly due to motor vehicle collisions and in association with multilevel vertebral fractures. No correlation with fracture type or level was identified.

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