Impact of Cardiac Pacemaker Implantation in Patients With Acute Traumatic Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The American surgeon




cervical vertebrae; mortality; pacemaker; spinal cord injuries


BACKGROUND: Cardiac pacemaker implantation may be indicated in patients with refractory bradycardia following a cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI). However, evidence about the impact of this procedure on outcomes is lacking. We planned a study to assess whether the implantation of a pacemaker would decrease mortality and hospital resource utilization in patients with CSCI. METHODS: Adult patients with CSCI in the Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) database between 2016 and 2019 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided into "pacemaker" and "non-pacemaker" groups, and their baseline characteristics and clinical outcomes were analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 6774 cases were analyzed. The pacemaker group showed higher in-hospital rates of cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, and longer duration of mechanical ventilation and ICU stay than the non-pacemaker group. Nevertheless, pacemaker placement was associated with a significant decrease in mortality (4.2% vs 26.0%, < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with CSCI requiring a pacemaker placement had better survival than those treated without a pacemaker. Pacemaker implantation should be highly considered in patients who develop refractory bradycardia after CSCI.


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