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Navjot Chaudhary, Bill H. Wang, Kevin R. Gurr, Stewart I. Bailey and Christopher S. Bailey

Atlantooccipital dislocation (AOD) is a rare and often fatal injury. In cases of survival, residual deficits are severe and often include cranial nerve palsy, quadriplegia, or respiratory issues. Occipitalization is defined as partial or complete congenital fusion of the occiput to the atlas and is exceptionally rare.

The authors present a rare case of AOD superimposed on a congenital occipitalization of the atlas. This 39-year-old man had AOD following a motor vehicle collision. On examination, his overall motor score on the American Spinal Injury Association scale was 5/100, and his rectal tone was absent. Computed tomography demonstrated AOD in an area of occipitalization. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed ligamentous injury leading to C1–2 instability.

Intervention included occipital cervical instrumentation fusion from the occiput to C-3. Six months postoperatively, imaging revealed fusion of the graft and consolidation of the fractured occipitalization. At the 2-year follow-up, the patient's strength was 3/5 for wrist extension and handgrip on the right side and full strength in the rest of the myotomes. Bladder and bowel function was also normalized.

A high-velocity collision led to disruption of the atlantooccipital ligaments and fracture of the occipitalized lateral masses in this patient. Internal fixation and fusion led to good fusion postoperatively. Occipitalization probably led to abnormal joint mechanics at the C1-occiput junction, which might have altered the amount of force required to fracture the occipitalization and produce AOD. This difference may partially account for the favorable neurological outcome in the featured patient compared with traditional cases of AOD.

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Ingrid Radovanovic, Jennifer C. Urquhart, Parham Rasoulinejad, Kevin R. Gurr, Fawaz Siddiqi and Christopher S. Bailey

OBJECTIVE

Previous studies have focused on Type II odontoid fractures and have failed to report on the effect of other C-2 fracture types on treatment and outcome. The purpose of this study was to compare patient characteristics, cause of injury, predisposing factors to fracture, treatments, and mortality rates among C-2 fracture types in a cohort of elderly patients 70 years of age and older.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study design was used. Patients who sustained a C-2 fracture between 2002 and 2011 and who were admitted to the authors’ Level 1 trauma center were identified using the Discharge Abstract Database and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) code S12.1. Fractures were classified as odontoid Type I, II, or III; hangman’s; C-2 complex (hangman’s appearance on sagittal images, Type III odontoid on coronal cuts); and other (miscellaneous). Age, sex, predisposing factors to falls, cause of injury, treatment, presence of autofusion in the subaxial cervical spine, and mortality rates were compared between fracture patterns.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-one patients were included; their mean age was 82 years. Fractures included Type II odontoid (57%), complex (19%), Type III odontoid (11%), hangman’s (8%), and other (5%). Falls from a standing height accounted for 47% of injuries, and 65% of patients had ≥ 3 risk factors for falls. Subaxial autofusion was more common in odontoid fractures (p = 0.002). Treatment was mainly nonoperative (p < 0.0001). The 1-year mortality rate was 27%. Four patients died of spinal cord injury.

CONCLUSIONS

Although not as common as Type II odontoid fractures, other C-2 fractures including hangman’s, complex, and Type III odontoid fractures accounted for close to half of the injuries in the study cohort. There were few differences between the fracture types with respect to cause of injury, predisposing factors, or mortality rate. However, surgical treatment was more common for Type II odontoid fractures.

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Anil K. Kesani, Jennifer C. Urquhart, Nathan Bedard, Pittavat Leelapattana, Fawaz Siddiqi, Kevin R. Gurr and Christopher S. Bailey

Object

The object in this study was to determine whether the presence of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) on admission is related to subsequent clinical outcome in terms of length of stay (LOS), complications, and mortality.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of 193 patients with acute traumatic SCI who had been hospitalized at their institution between 2006 and 2012. Patients were excluded from analysis if they had insufficient SIRS data, a cauda equina injury, a previous SCI, a preexisting neurological condition, or a condition on admission that prevented appropriate neurological assessment. Complications were counted only once per patient and were considered minor if they were severe enough to warrant treatment and major if they were life threatening. Demographics, injury characteristics, and outcomes were compared between individuals who had 2 or more SIRS criteria (SIRS+) and those who had 0 or 1 SIRS criterion (SIRS−) at admission. Multivariate logistic regression (enter method) was used to determine the relative contribution of SIRS+ at admission in predicting the outcomes of mortality, LOS in the intensive care unit (ICU), hospital LOS, and at least one major complication during the acute hospitalization. The American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale grade and patient age were included as covariates.

Results

Ninety-three patients were eligible for analysis. At admission 47.3% of patients had 2 or more SIRS criteria. The SIRS+ patients had higher Injury Severity Scores (24.3 ±10.6 vs 30.2 ±11.3) and a higher frequency of both at least one major complication during acute hospitalization (26.5% vs 50.0%) and a fracture-dislocation pattern of injury (26.5% vs 59.1%) than the SIRS− patients (p < 0.05 for each comparison). The SIRS+ patients had a longer median hospital stay (14 vs 18 days) and longer median ICU stay (0 vs 5 days). However, mortality was not different between the groups. Having SIRS on admission predicted an ICU LOS > 10 days, hospital LOS > 25 days, and at least one complication during the acute hospitalization.

Conclusions

A protocol to identify SCI patients with SIRS at admission may be beneficial with respect to preventing adverse outcomes and decreasing hospital costs.

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Ingrid Radovanovic, Jennifer C. Urquhart, Venkat Ganapathy, Fawaz Siddiqi, Kevin R. Gurr, Stewart I. Bailey and Christopher S. Bailey

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to determine the association between postoperative sagittal spinopelvic alignment and patient-rated outcome measures following decompression and fusion for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The authors identified a consecutive series of patients who had undergone surgery for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis between 2008 and 2012, with an average follow-up of 3 years (range 1–6 years). Surgery was performed to address the clinical symptoms of spinal stenosis, not global sagittal alignment. Sagittal alignment was only assessed postoperatively. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on a postoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) < 50 mm (well aligned) or ≥ 50 mm (poorly aligned). Baseline demographic, procedure, and outcome measures were compared between the groups. Postoperative outcome measures and postoperative spinopelvic parameters were compared between groups using analysis of covariance.

RESULTS

Of the 84 patients included in this study, 46.4% had an SVA < 50 mm. Multiple levels of spondylolisthesis (p = 0.044), spondylolisthesis at the L3–4 level (p = 0.046), and multiple levels treated with fusion (p = 0.028) were more common among patients in the group with an SVA ≥ 50 mm. Patients with an SVA ≥ 50 mm had a worse SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) score (p = 0.018), a worse Oswestry Disability Index (ODI; p = 0.043), and more back pain (p = 0.039) than those with an SVA < 50 mm after controlling for multiple levels of spondylolisthesis and multilevel fusion. The spinopelvic parameters differing between the < 50-mm and ≥ 50-mm groups included lumbar lordosis (LL; 56.4° ± 4.7° vs 49.8° ± 4.3°, respectively, p = 0.040) and LL < pelvic incidence ± 9° (51% vs 23.1%, respectively, p = 0.013) after controlling for type of surgical procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

Data in this study revealed that patient-rated outcome is influenced by the overall postoperative sagittal balance as defined by the SVA.

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Christopher S. Bailey, Marcel F. Dvorak, Kenneth C. Thomas, Michael C. Boyd, Scott Paquett, Brian K. Kwon, John France, Kevin R. Gurr, Stewart I. Bailey and Charles G. Fisher

Object

The authors compared the outcome of patients with thoracolumbar burst fractures treated with and without a thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO).

Methods

As of June 2002, all consecutive patients satisfying the following inclusion criteria were considered eligible for this study: 1) the presence of an AO Classification Type A3 burst fractures between T-11 and L-3, 2) skeletal maturity and age < 60 years, 3) admission within 72 hours of injury, 4) initial kyphotic deformity < 35°, and 5) no neurological deficit. The study was designed as a multicenter prospective randomized clinical equivalence trial. The primary outcome measure was the score based on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire assessed at 3 months postinjury. Secondary outcomes are assessed until 2 years of follow-up have been reached, and these domains included pain, functional outcome and generic health-related quality of life, sagittal alignment, length of hospital stay, and complications. Patients in whom no orthotic was used were encouraged to ambulate immediately following randomization, maintaining “neutral spinal alignment” for 8 weeks. The patients in the TLSO group began being weaned from the brace at 8 weeks over a 2-week period.

Results

Sixty-nine patients were followed to the primary outcome time point, and 47 were followed for up to 1 year. No significant difference was found between treatment groups for any outcome measure at any stage in the follow-up period. There were 4 failures requiring surgical intervention, 3 in the TLSO group and 1 in the non-TLSO group.

Conclusions

This interim analysis found equivalence between treatment with a TLSO and no orthosis for thoracolumbar AO Type A3 burst fractures. The influence of a brace on early pain control and function and on long-term 1- and 2-year outcomes remains to be determined. However, the authors contend that a thoracolumbar burst fracture, in exclusion of an associated posterior ligamentous complex injury, is inherently a very stable injury and may not require a brace.