Pontomedullary tears and other gross brainstem injuries after vehicular accidents.
ABSTRACT In a series of 988 autopsied victims of road crashes, there were 36 (3.6%) cases of gross primary brainstem injury. These fell into three groups. The first comprised eight cases of pontomedullary tearing without other gross brain injury: in seven of these, there were associated atlanto-occipital dislocations and/or high cervical fracture-dislocations. The usual cause appeared to be facial impact inducing acute hyperextension. Second, there were 17 cases of pontomedullary tearing associated with other brainstem lacerations and/or major damage elsewhere in the brain: in all, there were fractures of the skull base, typically transverse middle fossa fractures. Most of these injuries appeared to be due to facial impacts transmitting force to the anterior skull base, although hyperextension was also a factor in some. There was a third heterogeneous group of 11 cases with brainstem lacerations in sites other than the pontomedullary junction: in some of these it appeared that the impacts had caused skull base fractures by inducing calvarial torsion. In this series, the proportion of motorcyclists (41.7%) was double the expected figure. The use of a helmet modifies the mechanisms of impact head injury; the overall benefits of helmet use are well established, but there is need for more research on helmet design.
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ABSTRACT: A case-control study was conducted to determine the relationship between motorcycle helmets, including type (i.e. partial or full coverage) and fastening status (i.e. loose or firm), and cervical spinal cord injuries (SCIs) in Taiwan. Based on a nationwide registry consisting of 396 motorcycle riders with traumatic SCIs during the 4-year period from July 1992 to June 1996, 229 subjects injured at cervical levels were defined as cases and 167 injured at other spinal levels as controls. Furthermore, additional information on the type and fastening status of the helmet was collected by telephone interview, and 147 subjects, including 79 with cervical and 68 with noncervical lesions, responded. Results of the logistic regression model show that neither different helmet types nor fastening status increased the occurrence of cervical SCIs when motorcycle riders were involved in severe crashes.Neuroepidemiology 01/2004; 23(6):269-74. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In young children, high cervical spine injuries (HCSI) can result in inaugural reversible, cardiac arrest or apnea. We noted in children sustaining such injuries an unusual incidence of associated brain stem injuries and defined a special pattern of combined lesions. Children with HSCI surviving inaugural cardiac arrest/apnea were selected for a retrospective analysis of a trauma data bank. Epidemiologic, clinical, and radiological characteristics, and outcome were reviewed and compared with those of the rest of the trauma population with severe neurologic injuries (defined by a Glasgow Coma Scale < 8). Thirteen children with HCSI above the C3 spinal level and inaugural cardiac arrest/apnea were identified and compared with 819 severely head injured children without HSCI. Mean age was 4.7 +/- 2.9 years, and median Glasgow Coma Scale was 3 (3-6) after resuscitation. Initial standard x-ray views missed spine injuries in 6 patients. Spiral computed tomographic (CT) scan showed cervical fracture-dislocations associated with diffuse brain lesions and brain stem injury in all patients. Children with combined lesions had more frequent severe facial and skull base fractures compared with the rest of the population. They also were younger and sustained more frequent severe distracting injury to the neck than the rest of the population. Mortality rate (69%) was 2.6-fold higher than that observed in children without HCSI. In survivors, none demonstrated spinal cord injury resulting in persistent peripheral neurologic deficits, but only one achieved a good recovery. Combined HCSI and brain stem injuries must be suspected in young children sustaining a severe distracting injury to the craniocervical junction. Early recognition of these catastrophic injuries by systematic spiral cervical spine and brain stem computed tomographic scan evaluation is mandatory.Journal of Pediatric Surgery 11/2005; 40(10):1637-42. · 1.38 Impact Factor