[Frequency and age distribution of combined sternovertebral injuries : Analysis of routine data from German hospitals 2005-2012]

Unfallchirurg. 2018 Aug;121(8):642-648. doi: 10.1007/s00113-018-0460-4.
[Article in German]


Background: Combinations of sternal and spinal fractures often occur due to high velocity accidents and are associated with a high incidence of concomitant injuries. The anterior thoracic wall is described as the fourth column of torso stability, which is why sternovertebral injuries (SVI) present a high risk of sagittal deformation of the trunk, in particular injuries of the thoracic spine. To date, no studies have been published on the frequency distribution of the involved vertebral bodies in large patient groups.

Objectives: This study was intended to elaborate a frequency distribution of vertebral fractures accompanying sternal fractures (SF) and examine the risk of a vertebral fracture accompanying a SF.

Material and methods: A total of 48,193 cases with the main or secondary diagnosis of a SF and 897,963 cases with vertebral fractures based on routine data of German hospitals from the years 2005-2012 were evaluated. A concomitant injury to the spinal column was examined for each vertebral body and then evaluated statistically.

Results and conclusions: Of all patients with a SF 30.96% also suffered from a vertebral fracture. Of these 3.11% were SF as the main diagnosis and 60.89% the secondary diagnosis. While vertebral fractures generally occurred most frequently in the region of the thoracolumbar transition and the second cervical vertebral body, the SVI showed a further frequency peak in the range from the lower cervical spine to the middle thoracic spine. The present study was able to show a frequency distribution of accompanying vertebral body injuries in a large and representative collective in the case of SF for the first time.

Keywords: Anterior chest wall; Sagittal profile; Sternum fracture; Thoracic trauma; Vertebral spine fracture.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries
  • Fractures, Bone* / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Spinal Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Sternum / injuries
  • Thoracic Vertebrae* / injuries