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Cervical injuries in Sweden, a national survey of patient data from 1987 to 1999

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Neck injuries are one of the most important injuries as they have the potential to influence the spinal cord. Data from most parts of the world are not sufficient to define a comprehensive view of mortality, morbidity, disability and handicap due to neck injuries. In Sweden, there are no data on the incidence of neck injuries. The aim of this study is to define the national incidence and causes of neck injuries in Sweden. An incidence study was undertaken with data from the injury surveillance program at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. The investigation includes cervical vertebral fractures reported between 1987 and 1999, and cervical soft tissue injuries over a period of three years, from 1997 to 1999. Data between 1987 and 1996 were reported in ICD 9, while data from 1997 to 1999 were reported in ICD 10. During the study period, 14,310 non-fatal and 782 fatal cervical injuries occurred. A decreasing incidence for cervical fractures can be seen for the Swedish population, except for the elderly that have a slight increase in incidence. The incidence for cervical soft tissue injuries is almost constant. Cervical fractures demand longer periods of hospitalization than the soft tissue injuries. Transportation-related cervical fractures have dropped since 1991, while soft tissue injuries increased slowly between 1997 and 1999. Fall accidents are now the largest external cause of cervical fractures, and the population above 65 years accounts for almost 50% of the fall accidents. The male population has a higher incidence of cervical fractures, disregarding age. It is concluded that safety programs for transportation-related injuries in Sweden have been successful, while fall accidents are still substantial. Much more can be done to prevent neck injuries; especially to reduce the number of transportation-related cervical soft tissue injuries and fall injuries in the elderly population.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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