Halo-thoracic brace immobilization in 188 patients with acute cervical spine injuries.

Journal of Neurosurgery (Impact Factor: 3.23). 05/1983; 58(4):508-15. DOI: 10.3171/jns.1983.58.4.0508
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors report 188 patients with acute cervical spine injury with fracture who underwent Halo-thoracic brace immobilization. The majority of the fractures were considered unstable. Early neurological assessment revealed 24 patients without neurological deficit. There were 164 patients with associated cervical cord injury; 84 patients with incomplete, and 80 patients with complete tetraplegia. Management consisted of skull traction and application of the Halo-thoracic brace about 1.3 weeks after admission. The average radiological union time was 11.5 weeks following a mean of 10.2 weeks of immobilization in a Halo apparatus. Satisfactory restoration of bone and ligament stability, with no significant posttreatment neck pain, was obtained in 168 cases (89%). This is comparable to the fusion rate achieved for cervical fractures in the literature. The follow-up periods range from 1 month to 6 years, with a mean of 10.8 months. The management and results in 73 patients with unilaterally and bilaterally locked facets with or without fractures are discussed. Complete tetraplegia is not considered a contraindication to Halo apparatus immobilization. The multiple factors responsible for overcoming the barrier of anesthetic skin are elucidated. Use of the Halo apparatus offers early mobilization and rehabilitation without neurological deterioration. Complications are few and insignificant.

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    ABSTRACT: We present the case of a nineteen year old male, who sustained a fracture of anterior-superior surface of C7, combined with anterior subluxation at the level of C6–C7 vertebrae. After x-ray and CT examination, he was treated conservatively by a Halo-vest. After mobilization, the patient was discharged from the hospital with instructions to visit the outpatient's clinic at regular bases. Despite of our instructions, he did not attend the regular follow-up and, three months later, he visited the emergencies complaining of pin loosening and serious headaches. He was admitted to the clinic in order to perform blood tests and new radiological control. During the first day, high fever (over 38,5°C) was added to his symptoms. Blood exams were indicative of inflammation. Further investigation with CT-scan revealed the presence of a subdural abscess. After consulting the neurosurgeon, the patient was treated conservatively with antimicrobial drugs. Three weeks later he returned home without any symptoms. Since then, he is visiting regularly our clinic and no problems occurred during follow-up.
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    ABSTRACT: Specialisation in spinal services has lead to a low threshold for referral of cervical spine injuries from district general hospitals. We aim to assess the capability of a district general hospital in providing the halo vest device and the expertise available in applying the device for unstable cervical spine injuries prior to transfer to a referral centre. The study was a postal questionnaire survey of trauma consultants at district general hospitals without on-site spinal units in the United Kingdom. Seventy institutions were selected randomly from an electronic NHS directory. We posed seven questions on the local availability, expertise and training with halo vest application, and transferral policies in patients with spinal trauma. The response rate was 51/70 (73%). Nineteen of the hospitals (37%) did not stock the halo vest device. Also, one third of the participants (18/51, 35%, 95% confidence interval 22 - 50%) were not confident in application of the halo vest device and resorted to transfer of patients to referral centres without halo immobilization. The lack of equipment and expertise to apply the halo vest device for unstable cervical spine injuries is highlighted in this study. Training of all trauma surgeons in the application of the halo device would overcome this deficiency.
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