Ladders are a commonly used piece of equipment; however, their use is accompanied by a significant potential for injury. Fractures of the head, face, and neck are potential consequences of ladder use and can be devastating due to potential for severe sequalae.
To describe the frequency and pattern of ladder-related head, face, and neck fractures from 2009-2018.
The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) was searched for ladder-related head, face, and neck fractures treated in U.S. emergency departments. Demographics, mechanism of injury, fracture type, setting in which fracture occurred, and patient disposition were analyzed.
There were 601 total cases (weighted national estimate of 20,450 total cases) of ladder-related head, face, and neck fractures obtained from the NEISS from 2009 to 2018. The mean age of injury was 53 years, and the majority of cases occurred in home settings. Approximately 25% of the cases were patients aged older than 65 years. The majority of fractures in individuals younger than 18 years and older than 46 years of age resulted in admission. The most commonly fractured locations included the face (51.0%), followed by cervical spine (28.3%) and cranial (20.7%) fractures.
Admission rates for ladder-related head, face, and neck fractures are substantially higher than those previously reported for all types of ladder-related injuries. Injury and admission patterns vary by age. Rigorous safety precautions may be indicated for the high-risk groups identified by this study, especially the elderly.
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