Annual Meeting ArticlesCervical Spine Injuries among Submersion VictimsWatson, R. Scott MD, MPH; Cummings, Peter MD, MPH; Quan, Linda MD; Bratton, Susan MD, MPH; Weiss, Noel S. MD, DrPHAuthor Information From the Departments of Epidemiology (R.S.W., P.C., N.S.W.) and Pediatrics (R.S.W., L.Q.), University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, and Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (P.C.), Seattle, Washington, and the Department of Pediatrics, Oregon Health Sciences University (S.B.), Portland, Oregon. Submitted for publication March 5, 2001. Accepted for publication June 8, 2001. Supported, in part, by grant R49/CCR010141-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Presented, in part, at the 29th Educational and Scientific Symposium of the Society of Critical Care Medicine, February 11–15, 2000, Orlando, Florida. Address for reprints: R. Scott Watson, MD, MPH, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 3705 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2583; email: email@example.com. The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: October 2001 - Volume 51 - Issue 4 - p 658-662 Buy Abstract Background Submersion victims are frequently considered at high risk for cervical spine (C-spine) injury regardless of whether they sustain a traumatic injury. We hypothesized that C-spine injury is unlikely in submersion victims who do not sustain high-impact injuries. Methods The study was a cohort study of all people who submerged between January 1974 and July 1996 and received medical care or were seen by the medical examiner in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties in Washington State. Results Eleven (0.5%) of 2,244 submersion victims had C-spine injuries. All 11 had submerged in open bodies of water; had clinical signs of serious injury; and had a history of diving, motorized vehicle crash, or fall from height. No C-spine injuries occurred in 880 low-impact submersions. Conclusion Submersion victims are at risk for C-spine injury only if they have also sustained a traumatic injury. Routine C-spine immobilization does not appear to be warranted solely on the basis of a history of submersion. © 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.