Acute cervical spinal cord injury secondary to air bag deployment without proper use of lap or shoulder harnesses

J Spinal Disord. 2000 Feb;13(1):36-8. doi: 10.1097/00002517-200002000-00007.


The authors present a case report of a patient with cervical central spinal cord syndrome caused by a hyperextension injury after a motor vehicle collision in which the air bag deployed in the absence of shoulder or lap belt harnesses. The potential for cervical spine and spinal cord hyperextension injuries in passengers positioned in front of air bags without proper use of shoulder or lap belt harnesses is discussed. Cervical central spinal cord quadriplegia occurred with cervical spondylosis and kyphosis that was managed by early three-level cervical corpectomy in a 58-year-old patient. Early improvement in the patient's neurological status occurred but was incomplete at the time of this report. Cervical hyperextension injuries are possible in passengers positioned in the front seat of cars with air bags when shoulder or lap belt harnesses are not used properly. Previous biomechanical studies have documented the potential for these types of injuries.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Acute Disease
  • Air Bags / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quadriplegia / diagnosis
  • Quadriplegia / etiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*