Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls

George C. Velmahos, Demetrios Demetriades, Demetrios Theodorou, Edward E. Cornwell, Howard Belzberg, Juan A. Asensio, James Murray, Thomas V. Berne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective of this study was to identify the patterns of injury in urban free-fall victims so as to establish guidelines of management. This prospective study at an academic level I trauma center included 187 consecutive patients who presented to our trauma center during a 9-month period (September 1994 to June 1995) after a fall from a height of 5 to 70 feet. Only three falls were from heights of more than 40 feet. Of these patients, 116 (65.1%) suffered significant trauma. Fractures were the most common injuries, accounting for 76.2% of all injuries. Spinal fractures were detected in 37 patients and were associated with neurologic deficits in 7. Intraabdominal injuries occurred in 11 patients, requiring operative intervention in 9 of them. Solid organ lacerations prevailed, but small bowel perforation and bladder rupture were present in one case each. A significant retroperitoneal hematoma was detected in only one case and a thoracic aortic rupture in one more. The height of the fall correlated highly with the incidence of intoxication and severity of injury, the need for operation, the length of hospitalization, and mortality. Most urban free-falls occur from moderate heights. The spinal column is frequently injured and therefore should be thoroughly assessed clinically and radiographically in all fall victims. Intraabdominal organ injuries are much more common than retroperitoneal ones. Thus the abdominal cavity should be the primary target of aggressive workup in hemodynamically unstable patients. The height of the fall is a good predictor of injury severity and outcome prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-821
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Volume21
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Wounds and Injuries
Trauma Centers
Spinal Fractures
Aortic Rupture
Abdominal Cavity
Lacerations
Neurologic Manifestations
Hematoma
Rupture
Urinary Bladder
Hospitalization
Spine
Thorax
Prospective Studies
Guidelines
Mortality
Incidence

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery

Cite this

Velmahos, G. C., Demetriades, D., Theodorou, D., Cornwell, E. E., Belzberg, H., Asensio, J. A., ... Berne, T. V. (1997). Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls. World Journal of Surgery, 21(8), 816-821. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002689900312

Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls. / Velmahos, George C.; Demetriades, Demetrios; Theodorou, Demetrios; Cornwell, Edward E.; Belzberg, Howard; Asensio, Juan A.; Murray, James; Berne, Thomas V.

In: World Journal of Surgery, Vol. 21, No. 8, 10.1997, p. 816-821.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Velmahos, GC, Demetriades, D, Theodorou, D, Cornwell, EE, Belzberg, H, Asensio, JA, Murray, J & Berne, TV 1997, 'Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls', World Journal of Surgery, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 816-821. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002689900312
Velmahos GC, Demetriades D, Theodorou D, Cornwell EE, Belzberg H, Asensio JA et al. Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls. World Journal of Surgery. 1997 Oct;21(8):816-821. https://doi.org/10.1007/s002689900312
Velmahos, George C. ; Demetriades, Demetrios ; Theodorou, Demetrios ; Cornwell, Edward E. ; Belzberg, Howard ; Asensio, Juan A. ; Murray, James ; Berne, Thomas V. / Patterns of injury in victims of urban free-falls. In: World Journal of Surgery. 1997 ; Vol. 21, No. 8. pp. 816-821.
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