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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-122

Assessment of ultrasound as a diagnostic modality for detecting potentially unstable cervical spine fractures in pediatric severe traumatic brain injury: A feasibility study

1 Department of Neurosurgery, JPNA Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, JPNA Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Deepak Agrawal
Department of Neurosurgery, JPNA Trauma Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1745.159196

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Background: Early cervical spine clearance is extremely important in unconscious trauma patients and may be difficult to achieve in emergency setting. Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of standard portable ultrasound in detecting potentially unstable cervical spine injuries in severe traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients during initial resuscitation. Materials and Methods: This retro-prospective pilot study carried out over 1-month period (June-July 2013) after approval from the institutional ethics committee. Initially, the technique of cervical ultrasound was standardized by the authors and tested on ten admitted patients of cervical spine injury. To assess feasibility in the emergency setting, three hemodynamically stable pediatric patients (≦18 years) with isolated severe head injury (Glasgow coma scale ≤8) coming to emergency department underwent an ultrasound examination. Results: The best window for the cervical spine was through the anterior triangle using the linear array probe (6-13 MHz). In the ten patients with documented cervical spine injury, bilateral facet dislocation at C5-C6 was seen in 4 patients and at C6-C7 was seen in 3 patients. C5 burst fracture was present in one and cervical vertebra (C2) anterolisthesis was seen in one patient. Cervical ultrasound could easily detect fracture lines, canal compromise and ligamental injury in all cases. Ultrasound examination of the cervical spine was possible in the emergency setting, even in unstable patients and could be done without moving the neck. Conclusions: Cervical ultrasound may be a useful tool for detecting potentially unstable cervical spine injury in TBI patients, especially those who are hemodynamically unstable.


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