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This article is the author’s final published version in Neurotrauma Reports, Volume 4, Issue 1, June 2023, Pages 375-383.

The published version is available at © Bizhan Aarabiet al., 2023; Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Odontoid fractures are common, often presenting in the elderly after a fall and infrequently associated with traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI). The goal of this study was to analyze predictors of mortality and neurological outcome when odontoid fractures were associated with signal change on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at admission. Over an 18-year period (2001-2019), 33 patients with odontoid fractures and documented tSCI on MRI were identified. Mean age was 65.3 years (standard deviation [SD] = 17.2), and 21 patients were male. The mechanism of injury was falls in 25 patients, motor vehicle accidents in 5, and other causes in 3. Mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 40.5 (SD = 30.2), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 13 (SD = 3.4), and American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) motor score (AMS) was 51.6 (SD = 42.7). ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) grade was A, B, C, and D in 9, 2, 3, and 19 patients, respectively. Mean intramedullary lesion length was 32.3 mm (SD = 18.6). The odontoid peg was displaced ventral or dorsal in 15 patients. Twenty patients had surgical intervention: anterior odontoid screw fixation in 7 and posterior spinal fusion in 13. Eleven (33.3%) patients died in this series: withdrawal of medical care in 5; anoxic brain injury in 4; and failure of critical care management in 2. Univariate logistic regression indicated that GCS score (p<0.014), AMS (p<0.002), AIS grade (p<0.002), and ISS (p<0.009) were risk factors for mortality. Multi-variate regression analysis indicated that only AMS (p<0.002) had a significant relationship with mortality when odontoid fracture was associated with tSCI (odds ratio, 0.963; 95% confidence interval, 0.941–0.986).

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