Cervical spinal cord, root, and bony spine injuries: a closed claims analysis.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND:The aim of this study was to characterize cervical cord, root, and bony spine claims in the American Society of Anesthesiologists Closed Claims database to formulate hypotheses regarding mechanisms of injury. METHODS:All general anesthesia claims (1970-2007) in the Closed Claims database were searched to identify cervical injuries. Three independent teams, each consisting of an anesthesiologist and neurosurgeon, used a standardized review form to extract data from claim summaries and judge probable contributors to injury. RESULTS:Cervical injury claims (n = 48; mean ± SD age 47 ± 15 yr; 73% male) comprised less than 1% of all general anesthesia claims. When compared with other general anesthesia claims (19%), cervical injury claims were more often permanent and disabling (69%; P < 0.001). In addition, cord injuries (n = 37) were more severe than root and/or bony spine injuries (n = 10; P < 0.001), typically resulting in quadriplegia. Although anatomic abnormalities (e.g., cervical stenosis) were often present, cord injuries usually occurred in the absence of traumatic injury (81%) or cervical spine instability (76%). Cord injury occurred with cervical spine (65%) and noncervical spine (35%) procedures. Twenty-four percent of cord injuries were associated with the sitting position. Probable contributors to cord injury included anatomic abnormalities (81%), direct surgical complications (24% [38%, cervical spine procedures]), preprocedural symptomatic cord injury (19%), intraoperative head/neck position (19%), and airway management (11%). CONCLUSION:Most cervical cord injuries occurred in the absence of traumatic injury, instability, and airway difficulties. Cervical spine procedures and/or sitting procedures appear to predominate. In the absence of instability, cervical spondylosis was the most common factor associated with cord injury.

journal_name

Anesthesiology

journal_title

Anesthesiology

authors

Hindman BJ,Palecek JP,Posner KL,Traynelis VC,Lee LA,Sawin PD,Tredway TL,Todd MM,Domino KB

doi

10.1097/ALN.0b013e3182104859

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-04-01 00:00:00

pages

782-95

issue

4

eissn

0003-3022

issn

1528-1175

journal_volume

114

pub_type

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