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Utility of Spinal Injury Diagnosis Using C-Spine lateral X-ray and Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis Computed Tomography in Major Trauma Patients with Impaired Consciousness
J Trauma Inj 2018;31(3):151-158
Published online December 31, 2018
© 2018 The Korean Society of Trauma.

Yoon Soo Jang, M.D., Byung Hak So, M.D., Won Jung Jeong, M.D., Kyung Man Cha, M.D., Hyung Min Kim, M.D.

Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Suwon, Korea
Correspondence to: Hyung Min Kim, M.D.
Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Vincent’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 93 Jungbu-daero, Paldal-gu, Suwon 16247, Korea
Tel: +82-31-249-8377
Fax: +82-31-253-4126
Received September 11, 2018; Accepted October 17, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Purpose: The regional emergency medical centers manage the patients with major blunt trauma according to the process appropriate to each hospital rather than standardized protocol of the major trauma centers. The primary purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and influence on prognosis of additional cervical-thoracic-lumbar-spine computed tomography (CTL-spine CT) scan in diagnosis of spinal injury from the victim of major blunt trauma with impaired consciousness.
Methods: The study included patients visited the urban emergency medical center with major blunt trauma who were over 18 years of age from January 2013 to December 2016. Data were collected from retrospective review of medical records. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were measured for evaluation of the performance of diagnostic methods.
Results: One hundred patients with Glasgow coma scale ≤13 underwent additional CTL-spine CT scan. Mechanism of injury was in the following order: driver, pedestrian traffic accident, fall and passenger accident. Thirty-one patients were diagnosed of spinal injury, six of them underwent surgical management. The sensitivity of chest, abdomen and pelvis CT (CAP CT) was 72%, specificity 97%, false positive rate 3%, false negative rate 28% and diagnostic accuracy 87%. Eleven patients were not diagnosed of spinal injury with CAP CT and C-spine lateral view, but all of them were diagnosed of stable fractures.
Conclusions: C-spine CT scan be actively considered in the initial examination process. When CAP CT scan is performed in major blunt trauma patients with impaired consciousness, CTL-spine CT scan or simple spinal radiography has no significant effect on the prognosis of the patient and can be performed if necessary.
Keywords : Spinal injuries; Tomography; X-rays

December 2018, 31 (3)
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