"Diagnosis of fractured C2 odontoid peg"
About: Northwick Park Hospital Northwick Park Hospital HA1 3UJ
Posted by Jim Milledge
I attended NPH A&E April 23rd the day after a bad fall down some concrete steps onto my forehead. I had vomited twice in the night and again in the morning and was afraid that I might have a bleed in my head. Although the A&E was busy I was seen quickly by friendly staff and sent for a CT scan of my head. This was done and I returned to see a doctor who had just come on duty. The scan was normal and the doctor further examined me although two doctors had already examined me and found nothing suspicious. The doctor noted that when they asked me to turn my head I turned my shoulders instead, so sent me for an X-ray of my neck. This was done and the doctor was not happy with the look of the second cervical vertebra. They sent me for a CT scan of the neck. This showed that I had a fracture of the odontoid peg on C2 – the hangman’s fracture! So in this one visit I was registered, had three doctor’s interviews, two CT scans and an X-ray plus an unusual, important and definitive diagnosis, all in under 6 hours. I was referred to the Neuro-surgical department at St Mary’s. I was operated on the following week and a screw placed to stabilise the facture. All the staff I encountered, Doctors, Nurses, Radiographers and Clerks were cheerful, excellent and helpful. I cannot speak too highly of this department at NPH.