• Acute spinal cord injury occurred in 2.6% of the 114 510 patients entered into the Major Trauma Outcome Study from 1982 to 1989. The most common causes of spinal cord injury were motor vehicle accidents (40%), falls (20%), and gunshot wounds (13.6%). Almost 80% of patients with spinal cord injury had multiple injuries. Cervical cord injury was seen in 65% of patients with isolated spinal cord injury, but in only 52% of patients with multiple injuries. The hospital mortality rate was 17%, with patients with multiple injuries having a significantly higher mortality rate than patients with isolated spinal cord injury (19.8% vs 6.9%). The TRISS method overpredicted the mortality rate among patients with multiple injuries (450 vs 379), but not among those with isolated injury. A program for better national surveillance and prevention of spinal cord injury is warranted.
(Arch Surg. 1992;128:596-599)