Guidelines for Imaging Use in Children with Potential Cervical Spine Injuries

Spine Injury

In Columbus, Ohio, sophisticated cervical spine injury prediction rules are showing promise in efficiently identifying which pediatric patients require imaging after experiencing blunt trauma, according to a recent study published on June 3 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health. The prospective observational cohort study from The Ohio State University College of Medicine involved the assessment of data from 22,430 children, ranging from infants to 17-year-olds, who were admitted to 18 specialized children’s emergency departments for suspected or confirmed blunt trauma incidents. Of these young patients, approximately 1.9 percent, or 433 individuals, were found to have sustained cervical spine injuries.

Dr. Leonard and her team discerned that certain factors—including alterations in mental status, irregularities in airway, breathing, or circulation, and specific neurological deficits such as numbness, weakness, or paresthesia—indicated a higher likelihood of cervical spine injuries. Within the initial study group, 12.7 percent of the 928 patients who demonstrated one or more of these symptoms were diagnosed with a cervical spine injury, reflecting an 8.9 risk ratio.

The researchers further employed what is known as a classification and regression tree (CART) analysis to identify an additional cluster of symptoms that present a significant risk for spinal injuries. These include neck pain, altered mental status, serious head or torso injuries, and midline neck tenderness.

Source: HealthDay

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