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June 4, 1938

FRACTURE OF THE ATLAS IN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS: THE VALUE OF X-RAY VIEWS FOR ITS DIAGNOSIS

Author Affiliations

CINCINNATI

JAMA. 1938;110(23):1892-1894. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790230008004
Abstract

The Journal has frequently discussed the causes and effects of automobile accidents and has published instructive papers on the typical injuries happening to automobile riders, such as crushing of the facial bones with loss of front teeth, and cuts. The present report draws attention to fractures of the atlas caused by automobile accidents. They are less conspicuous lesions than the ones just mentioned.1 Still, proper diagnosis and treatment would prevent unpleasant sequelae and are necessary for medicolegal reasons.

The conception of "broken neck" is frequently associated in the minds of laymen and physicians with cord injuries and a high mortality. This is true for some of the occupational accidents, as in miners. Fracture of the atlas, however, is far less hazardous, as will be explained. During the last century, fractures of the first cervical vertebra were hardly discovered without autopsy. Since then the x-rays have made it possible to

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