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Halo Treatment Effective in Cervical Spine Injury

Last Updated: July 14, 2009.

Treating traumatic cervical spine injuries with halo vest immobilization is a reasonable option, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of Spine.

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Treating traumatic cervical spine injuries with halo vest immobilization (HVI) is a reasonable option, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of Spine.

Richard J. Bransford, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed the cases of all patients with traumatic cervical spine injury treated with HVI at a single level 1 trauma center between 1998 and 2006. There were 490 injuries in 342 patients treated with HVI. The average age of the patient was 41, and 31 of them were lost to follow-up.

The researchers found that HVI was used as a definitive treatment in 84 percent of patients and that it was used along with surgical intervention in 16 percent of patients. Complications occurred in 35 percent of the cases. The most common complications were pin site infections and instability. Seventy-four percent of halo survivors who had appropriate follow-up completed the initially prescribed HVI time period. In addition, 85 percent of halos used for stand-alone management achieved their intended goal.

"Complications related to halo treatment are relatively common, but the majority of these can be effectively treated. Although halo treatment can be challenging for patients and clinicians, it remains an effective treatment option in the management of cervical spine injuries and one that may be favorable to surgery in certain situations," the authors conclude.

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