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Emergency Radiology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Can chest and abdominal trauma CT eliminate the need for plain films of the spine? – Experience with 329 multiple trauma patients

  • J. T. Rhea
  • R. L. Sheridan
  • M. E. Mullins
  • R. A. Novelline
ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Abstract

Purpose: To compare the accuracy of spine plain films with chest and abdominal trauma CT in detection of spine fractures. Methods: The study prospectively enrolled 329 multiple trauma patients. Of these, 38 patients had both chest CT for trauma and thoracic spine plain films, and 87 patients had both abdominal CT for trauma and lumbar spine plain films. Results: Of the fractures visible at either chest trauma CT or thoracic spine plain film examination, all were diagnosed on CT and 62 % on plain films. Of fractures visible at either abdominal trauma CT or lumbar spine plain films, 94 % were diagnosed on CT and 67 % on plain films. The one false negative CT involved an articular process fracture, which was visible but not mentioned, in a patient with a sacral fracture. Conclusion: Evaluation of the digital scout images and bone windows when a patient has chest and abdominal trauma CT appears to be as accurate as thoracic and lumbar spine plain films in the evaluation of spinal trauma.

Key words Computed tomography – Radiography – Spine – Lumbar vertebra – Thoracic vertebra – Injuries 

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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. T. Rhea
    • 1
  • R. L. Sheridan
    • 2
  • M. E. Mullins
    • 1
  • R. A. Novelline
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, FH 210, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA e-mail: rhea.james@mgh.harvard.edu Tel.: + 1-6 17-7 26 83 66 Fax: + 1-6 17-7 26 30 77US
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USAUS

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