Cervical Spine Injuries

  • John P. Adams
  • Jake Timothy
  • Justin McKinlay
Part of the Competency-Based Critical Care book series (CBCC)

Key Points

  1. 1.

    Cervical spine injuries account for about 50% of spinal injuries

  2. 2.

    10–30% of spinal trauma results in spinal-cord injury (SCI)

  3. 3.

    Cervical spine injuries are often associated with other injuries, including head injury in up to 25%

  4. 4.

    5–10% of patients with a cervical SCI will be unconscious at presentation

  5. 5.

    Mortality for combined head and cervical spine injuries exceeds 10%

  6. 6.

    SCI should be assumed in any patient who present with a depressed conscious level



Cervical Spine Cervical Spine Injury Spinal Cord Injury Neurogenic Pulmonary Edema Cervical Spine Fracture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Images kindly supplied by Dr. Dominic Barron and Mr. Jake Timothy, Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

Further Reading

  1. Baxendale BR, Yeoman PM (1997) Spinal injury. In: Goldhill D, Withington PS (eds) Textbook of intensive care. Chapman & Hall, London, pp 639–651Google Scholar
  2. Bracken MB, Shepard MJ, Collins WF et al (1990) A randomized, controlled trial of methylprednisolone or naloxone in the treatment of acute spinal-cord injury. Results of the second national acute spinal cord injury study. N Engl J Med 322(20):1405–1411CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bracken MB, Shepard MJ, Holford TR et al (1997) Administration of methylprednisolone for 24 or 48 hours or tirilazad mesylate for 48 hours in the treatment of acute spinal cord injury. Results of the third national acute spinal cord injury randomized controlled trial. national acute spinal cord injury study. JAMA 277(20):1597–1604CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Crosby ET (2006) Airway management in adults after cervical spine trauma. Anesthesiology 104:1293–1318CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Denis F (1983) The three column spine and its significance in the classification of acute thoracolumbar spine injuries. Spine 8:817–831CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fraser M (2005) Management of acute spinal injury. In: Galley H (ed) Critical Care Focus 11, Trauma. Blackwell Publishing, UK, pp 36–51Google Scholar
  7. Heath K, Erskine R (2000) The anaesthetic management of spinal injuries and surgery to the cervical spine. In: Matta B, Menon D, Turner J (eds) Textbook of neuroanaesthesia and critical care. Greenwich Medical Media, London, pp 241–252Google Scholar
  8. Stevens RD (2004) Spinal cord injury. In: Bhardwaj A, Mirski M, Ulatowski J (eds) Handbook of neurocritical care. Humana Press, New Jersey, pp 165–181Google Scholar
  9. Timothy J, Towns G, Girns HS (2004) Cervical spine injuries. Curr Orthop 18:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Adams
    • 1
  • Jake Timothy
    • 2
  • Justin McKinlay
    • 3
  1. 1.Leeds General Infirmary Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryLeeds General Infirmary Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Anaesthetics & Neurocritical CareLeeds General Infirmary Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustLeedsUK

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