Spinal Trauma

Lead Author(s): 

Sigurd H. Berven, MD
Matthew D. Hepler, MD

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I. Watkins-Castillo, PhD

The average length of stay for those patients discharged from hospitals with a spine fracture diagnosis was 6.8 days, with an average charge of $69,500. The charges for both males and younger patients were 30% to 60% higher than the average. Similarly, the length of stay was higher in younger patients (8 days or more), and gradually decreased with age (6 days for those older than 75 years of age). This correlation most likely reflects the higher association of more complicated traumatic fractures in these younger patient populations. (Reference Table 3.4.1 PDF CSV)

Nearly two in three patients seen in the ED with spinal fractures were transferred to a hospital. Patients admitted to the hospital from an emergency department had slightly longer average length of stay (LOS) (7.2 days) and higher charges ($70,700) than those directly admitted to the hospital. Most patients with a primary diagnosis of spine fracture admitted to the hospital from the ED were discharged to a long-term care facility (42%) and another 37% were discharged to home. The likelihood of discharge to a long-term facility was also directly related to age as noted previously. (Reference Table 3.1.2 PDF CSV; Table 3.4.2 PDF CSV; and Table 3.3.2 PDF CSV)
Average Length of Stay and Hospital Charges for Spinal Fractures, United States 2010/2011
The greater severity of traumatic spinal fractures is dramatically illustrated by average hospital stays more than twice as long as for VCFs (14 days vs. 6.6 days), and average charges three times as high ($197,700 vs. $65,700). Differences in LOS and charges are particularly dramatic for persons under the age of 45 years. (Reference Table 3.4.3 PDF CSV)
Average Length of Stay and Hospital Charges for Vertebral Compression Fractures and Traumatic Spinal Fractures by Age, United States 2011


  • 2014

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