Fractures of the clivus: A contemporary series in the computed tomography era

ArticleinNeurosurgery 65(6):1063-9; discussion 1069 · December 2009with11 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.62 · DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000360154.18604.28 · Source: PubMed


    We report the morbidity and mortality associated with fractures of the clivus and discuss management approaches specific to this unique diagnostic entity.
    We performed a boolean search of our electronic medical record database to identify patients with fractures of the clivus that were diagnosed using computed tomography of the head. A retrospective imaging and chart analysis was completed to further characterize the fractures and to analyze outcomes.
    Between January 1999 and December 2007, 41 patients were identified with fractures of the clivus. We found a 0.21% overall incidence among all head-injured patients presenting to our institution and a 2.3% incidence among those patients with a cranial fracture. Ten of 41 patients (24.4%) died, and neurological and vascular complications associated with central cranial base fractures were observed in 19 of 41 patients (46%). Furthermore, associated cranial fractures remote from the central cranial base and associated intracranial hemorrhages were observed in 40 of 41 (97.6%) and 33 of 41 (80.5%) patients, respectively. In terms of outcomes, 26 of 41 patients (63.5%) had a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 12 or greater at the time of discharge from the hospital.
    We demonstrate a lower than previously reported mortality rate in patients with clival fractures. Nevertheless, as a result of location, fractures of the clivus were frequently associated with a high rate of complications and neurological sequelae.