Civilian spinal cord injuries due to terror explosions

G. Zeilig*, H. P. Weingarden, M. Zwecker, D. Rubin-Asher, A. Ratner, A. Ohry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study design:Retrospective analysis of civilians with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) due to terror explosions.Objectives:To analyze and describe the clinical characteristics and rehabilitation outcomes of civilians with SCI due to explosions admitted for in-patient rehabilitation from 2000-2004.Setting:SCI rehabilitation service, Tel Hashomer, Israel.Methods:Retrospective chart review. Civilians with SCI due to terror-related gunshot wounds (GSWs) served as a control group.Results:Eleven civilians with SCI caused by penetrating atypical foreign objects (PAFOs) and eight with GSWs were identified. The male-to-female ratio was approximately 2:1. Foreign objects were present within the spinal canal in seven patients, causing bone injury without canal penetration in three, and one patient had both bone injury and canal penetration. The most common level of injury was thoracic. Seven had complete motor SCI. Three individuals improved in American Spinal Injury Association status: one individual improved from B to C (cervical); one from C to D (thoracic); and the third from D to E (lumbar). Despite the similar acute hospital length of stay and functional independence measure (FIM) scores on admission, the PAFO group had a shorter rehabilitation length of stay with higher FIM scores and higher FIM efficiency at discharge.Conclusions:Although the pathophysiology of PAFO blast injuries is similar to the high-velocity GSWs or the high-energy military munition injuries, better rehabilitation outcomes were seen, with slightly higher FIM efficiency and efficacy at discharge. This result is likely to be caused by less neurological tissue damage at impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-818
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • blast injuries
  • rehabilitation outcomes
  • spinal cord injury
  • terrorism


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