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Majority of Pediatric Spinal Fractures Occur in Teens

Almost two-thirds of pediatric spinal fractures in the U.S. occur in patients aged 15 to 17 years, most often due to motor vehicle accidents

FRIDAY, May 21, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Six in 10 pediatric spinal fractures occur in children ages 15 to 17 years, most commonly in a motor vehicle accident (MVA), according to a study published online April 12 in Spine.

Vishal Sarwahi, M.D., from Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, and colleagues used the National Trauma Data Bank (2009 to 2014) to determine the prevalence of U.S. pediatric spine fractures, associated injuries, mechanisms of injury, use of safety devices, and mortality rates.

The researchers found that among 34,563 identified patients (median age, 15 years), there were 45,430 fractured vertebrae. Nearly two-thirds of fractures (63.1 percent) occurred in patients aged 15 to 17 years, and they were most frequently due to MVAs (66.8 percent). Fractures were also most common in the South (38 percent) and among males (58.4 percent versus 41.6 percent in females). Wearing seatbelts was associated with lower odds of cranial (odds ratio [OR], 0.85) and thoracic (OR, 0.88) organ injury, multivertebral (OR, 0.78) and concomitant nonvertebral fractures (OR, 0.89), and mortality (OR, 0.79). More than 70 percent of drivers were not restrained when the MVA occurred.

“Findings of this study suggest more is required to improve seatbelt compliance,” the authors write. “A targeted approach utilizing technology and media awareness campaigns may expand seatbelt usage and decrease incidence of motor-vehicle-related injuries.”

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