1416. Penetrating Spinal Cord Injury in civilians: analysis of a national database

Authors: Mauricio Jose Avila, MD; Nikolay Martirosyan, MD; Travis Dumont, MD (Tucson, AZ)


Traumatic injuries are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in young people. Spinal trauma is common in polytrauma patients and spinal cord injury (SCI) is present in a subset of these patients. Penetrating SCI has been studied in military with blast and shrapnel injuries, civilian SCI is less studied, and their pathophysiology also varies given the general lower velocity of the projectiles. We sought to investigate civilian penetrating SCI in the U.S.


We queried the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) for data regarding penetrating spinal cord injury from the last 10 years (2006 to 2015). The NIS includes data of 20% of discharged patients from U. S. hospitals. We analyzed trends of penetrating SCI its diagnosis, surgical management, length of stay and hospital costs. The data was processed in a statistical software


In the last ten years there has being a steady incidence of penetrating SCI with a mean of 6% (Range 4.6 to 7.2%) of all SCI patients. Of the patients with penetrating SCI only 17% of them underwent a surgical procedure, compared with 56% for non-penetrating SCI. Patients with penetrating SCI had a longer length of stay (23 days in average) compared to SCI (15 days). Hospital costs were higher for penetrating SCI, $230 186 compared to $192 022 for closed SCI


Penetrating SCI represents 6% of all SCI patients in the NIS database. Patients who suffered a penetrating SCI have fewer surgical interventions for their injury however, their overall length of stay and hospital costs are larger compared to non-penetrating SCI. Further studies could help elucidate the difference in hospital costs between these two types of SCI.