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Type: Journal article
Title: Bilateral occipital condyle fractures leading to retropharyngeal haematoma and acute respiratory distress
Author: Freeman, B.
Behensky, H.
Citation: Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured, 2005; 36(1):207-212
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0020-1383
Statement of
Brian J. C. Freeman and Hannes Behensky
Abstract: Injuries to the occipito-cervical junction are rare and not easily diagnosed on conventional radiographs. The authors report such a case where the diagnosis was delayed. The patient developed a significant retrophyarngeal haematoma resulting in acute respiratory distress and required emergency endotracheal intubation. The patient remained intubated for five days and received a tapered dose of intravenous dexamethazone to reduce swelling in the proximity of the airway. At six weeks the patient had developed a left hypoglossal nerve palsy that persisted at 12 months. Occipital condyle fractures and the difficulties of diagnosis are discussed. The importance of measuring pre-vertebral soft tissue swelling on lateral radiographs is emphasized. Computed tomography of the C0–C2 region should be performed to identify base of skull and upper cervical fractures.
Keywords: Occipital condyle fracture
Delayed diagnosis
Respiratory compromise
DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2004.05.026
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 6
Orthopaedics and Trauma publications

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