Orthopedics. 2015 Sep 1;38(9):e813-8. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20150902-60

Epidemiology of Aquatic and Recreational Water Sport Injuries: A Case-Control Analysis

Kane I et all



The purposes of the current investigation are to evaluate the epidemiology of water sport injuries at a coastal tertiary trauma center and to determine the association of these activities with spinal column injury and to determine whether aquatic trauma injuries differ significantly from those that occur terrestrially. A retrospective review of a consecutive series of 105 patients with aquatic-based mechanisms of injury admitted to a Level II trauma center over a 3-year period, as well as a matched control cohort with terrestrial-based mechanisms of injury, was conducted. Patients were treated at a Level II trauma center from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2010. All patients received a full trauma work-up on arrival. Patients were identified retrospectively from a prospectively collected database (N=5298). Eligible patients were identified from billing/coding data as having mechanisms of injury related to an aquatic setting. Patients were evaluated using standard trauma protocols. Spinal column and cord injury occurrence and differences between groups were reviewed. Personal watercrafts accounted for the majority of injuries (n=39). Cervical (33.3%), closed-head (25.7%), and thoracolumbar (21.9%) injuries accounted for the majority of injury types. The cervical spinal column and the spinal cord were at an increased risk of injury in the aquatic injury cohort (P<.0001). The current data show the high incidence of spinal column and cord injuries in this patient population relative to controls. Practitioners who care for trauma patients near an aquatic environment should be aware of the high prevalence of these injuries, with proper spinal cord preservation protocols in place to optimize outcome. [Orthopedics. 2015; 38(9):e813-e818.].

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