Multiple trauma in the achondroplastic dwarf: An emergency medicine physician perspective case report and literature review

David M. Dvorak, Robert A. Rusnak, Jacques J. Morcos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Scopus citations


Although uncommon, the achondroplastic dwarf (AD) may become the victim of multiple trauma, presenting special challenges for the emergency department (ED) physician. Traditional management of airway, breathing, circulation, and neurological disability is altered by the unique anatomic features of achondroplasia. Despite facial abnormalities observed in the AD, orotracheal and nasotracheal intubation are usually accomplished without particular difficulty; however, abnormalities of the base of the skull and cervical spine make hyperextension of the neck especially hazardous in these patients. The lungs are functionally normal, although vital capacity is decreased and thoracic case abnormalities and abdominal obesity impair lung expansion. Vascular access in the AD is difficult. Peripheral access is difficult because of excessive subcutaneous fat, whereas central venous access is complicated by neck, chest wall, and spinal abnormalities that obscure commonly used anatomic landmarks. Major neurological syndromes observed in ADs are hydrocephalus, cervical medullary compression, and thoracolumbar stenosis. The ED physician should recognize these syndromes, their potential to produce neurological disability, and their unique implications for trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1993



  • Achondroplasia
  • dwarfism
  • massive epidural hematoma
  • trauma management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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