Bruce, C. A.; Donaldson, G. ; Palmer, W.; Crandon, Ivor W.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Spinal injuries at the University Hospital of the West Indies
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
Acute spinal damage forms a small percentage of total trauma injury but it has tremendous significance because of the resultant disability, poor prognosis, economic and social cost and the burden on victims, family, taxpayers and health workers. Of fifty-five patients admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Mona, Jamaica, over a seven-year period, forty form the basis of this report. Young males accounted for most victims and 85% of the injuries were non- intentional. The cervical spine, most commonly C6, was the region most frequently injured, followed by the lumbar and the thoracic regions. On admission, the mean Glasgow Coma Score was 14.6 and the mean Modified Injury Severity Score 12.7. Five patients were admitted in Frankel Grade A, complete paraplegia. Of eighteen patients treated with steroids, only eleven had methylprednisolone and only six of these appropriately. Nine patients had surgery after a mean time of 10.1 days. The average length of hospital stay was 18.2 days. Of 35 patients whose outcomes were known, eleven improved; two patients died in hospital. With the modernization of the management of this condition, we recommend that attention be focused on prevention, pre-hospital immobilization and transport, prompt resuscitation, the standardization of written protocols and early operative intervention. Also essential is the continuing medical education of all levels of personnel and the formalization of a well-coordinated and rehearsed Spine team.....