Epidemiology

Acute spinal cord injury is usually due to blunt trauma; penetrating trauma causes only 10 to 15 percent of cases. Focusing only on penetrating injuries, the majority are caused by gunshot wounds, with a small minority due to stab wounds.1 Of the blunt trauma causes, automobile accidents are the most frequent, followed by falls and sports.45 and 6 The cervical region is the most commonly injured, followed by the thoracolumbar junction, the thoracic region, and the lumbar segments.6 The area of the spinal cord injured has important implications for the incidence and severity of neurogenic shock. Approximately 10,000 people sustain spinal cord injury in the United States each year.6 Because of the long-term care involved with many of these patients, the economic costs are staggering.

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