2020 Volume 4 Issue 4 Pages 300-304
Introduction: The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention indicates that by 2020, road traffic injuries will be a major killer, accounting for half a million deaths and 15 million disability-adjusted life years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has one of the highest rates of spinal cord injuries in the world, with 62 people injured per 1 million, and the injuries are mostly due to traffic accidents.
Methods: All polytrauma patients associated with spinal injuries admitted to Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Hospital (PMAH), Riyadh, from January 2017 to June 2018, were included in this study. Patients with old spinal injuries, any previous spinal surgery, spine infection, or concomitant diagnosed malignancies or osteoporotic collapse with or without falls were excluded. All patients underwent whole-spine computed tomography scan and, in selective cases, magnetic resonance imaging of the spine.
Results: Of the 230 patients, 90.0% were male, and 60% were in the second and third decades. Motor vehicle accidents were responsible for 83% of the cases, of which 50% of the victims were the drivers, and 80% were passengers with no seatbelt on. Nearly 50% of the spinal injuries were associated with injuries in the other body parts. Cervical spine injury accounted for 44% of the cases, followed by the lumbar spine injury. Twenty five percent of the patients presented with fixed neurologic deficit in the form of quadriplegia or paraplegia (ASIA-A). The mortality rate was 1.3%.
Conclusions: This study revealed that motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of spinal injuries in the KSA. One-fourth of the spinal Injuries are associated with complete spinal cord injuries. Therefore, in order to prevent lifelong disability in the young population, a nationwide program should be initiated to prevent road traffic accidents.