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Article
March 1941

VERTEBRAL COMPRESSION FRACTURES SUSTAINED DURING CONVULSIONS

Author Affiliations

CATONSVILLE, MD.
From the Spring Grove State Hospital and the Springfield State Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1941;42(3):550-556. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1941.01210090099008
Abstract

It is well known that muscular action alone can break bones, such as the femoral neck1 or the bones of the forearm.2 However, fractures of vertebral bodies by muscular action, except in cases of tetanus, were practically unknown until recently, after the advent of convulsive shock therapy, although such fractures have been reported to have occurred in breeding stallions. The question of fractures from convulsive spasms has assumed more importance since inauguration of convulsive shock therapy for the psychoses. Since the introduction of shock therapy in 1935, occasional fractures have been reported by various observers; however, many of the fractures were overlooked because of the mildness or absence of symptoms. In the early days of convulsive shock therapy, no roentgenograms were taken unless the symptoms called for the procedure; recently roentgen examination has been routinely employed by one of us (S. A.) before and after treatment in all

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