Burst fractures of the lumbar spine in frontal crashes

10/22/2013

Burst fractures of the lumbar spine in frontal crashes

Kaufman RP, Ching RP, Willis MM, Mack CD, Gross JA, Bulger EM. Accid Anal Prev. 2013 Oct;59:153-63. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2013.05.023. Epub 2013 Jun 3. PMID: 2379261

Researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center examined the types of motor vehicle accidents that can cause major compression lumbar spine (MCLS) fractures.  Compression and burst fractures of the lumbar spine are defined as a > 20% loss in height.  In the US, these types of injuries continue to occur despite improvements in restraint technology.  Researchers examined databases from the National Automative Sampling System (NASS) and Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) to examine biomechanical data and mechanism of injury for patients who have suffered MCLS fractures.  Study investigators found that frontal crashes in late vehicle models (since 2000) actually resulted in 2.5 times more MCLS fractures as compared to 1990s models.  Belted occupants in frontal crashes had a 5 times greater odds of a MCLS fracture than those not belted, and an increase in age also greatly increased the odds. 

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