Age and Other Risk Factors Influencing Long-Term Mortality in Patients With Traumatic Cervical Spine Fracture.
To identify clinical or demographic variables that influence long-term mortality, as well as in-hospital mortality, with a particular focus on the effects of age.Cervical spine fractures with or without spinal cord injury (SCI) disproportionately impact the elderly who constitute an increasing percentage of the US population.We analyzed data collected for 10 years at a state-designated level I trauma center to identify variables that influenced in-hospital and long-term mortality among elderly patients with traumatic cervical spine fracture with or without SCI. Acute in-hospital mortality was determined from hospital records and long-term mortality within the study period (2003-2013) was determined from the National Death Index. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to identify factors influencing survival.Data from patients (N = 632) with cervical spine fractures were analyzed, the majority (66%) of whom were geriatric (older than age 64). Most patients (62%) had a mild/moderate injury severity score (ISS; median, interquartile range: 6, 5). Patients with SCI had significantly longer lengths of stay (14.1 days), days on a ventilator (3.5 days), and higher ISS (14.9) than patients without SCI (P < .0001 for all). Falls were the leading mechanism of injury for patients older than age 64. Univariate analysis identified that long-term survival decreased significantly for all patients older than age 65 (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.07; P < .0001). Multivariate analysis demonstrated age (HR: 1.08; P < .0001), gender (HR: 1.60; P < .0007), and SCI status (HR: 1.45, P < .02) significantly influenced survival during the study period.This study identified age, gender, and SCI status as significant variables for this study population influencing long-term survival among patients with cervical spine fractures. Our results support the growing notion that cervical spine injuries in geriatric patients with trauma may warrant additional research.