Research Article| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, P123-126, 1992

Torso injury patterns and mechanisms in car crashes: an additional diagnostic tool

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      Torso injuries among car occupants involved in severe collisions are often life threatening. This study considers whether knowledge of the type of impact and associated trends of torso injuries would assist the rapid diagnosis of injuries by emergency personnel. For the purpose of this analysis the pelvis was included in the torso. The data source was the Cooperative Crash Injury Study which holds detailed injury information on over 6200 car crash occupants. Restrained front seat occupants with an ISS of 16+ who were involved in frontal or side collisions were selected. A total of 286 occupants fell into these selection criteria. The frequency of injury to each torso part was determined to give an approximate likelihood of injury in each impact configuration. The injury data were further analysed to look for patterns of injury in frontal or side impacts.
      The likelihood of all torso injuries, except sternal and lumbar spinal injuries, increased in side impacts, particular examples being the spleen and pelvis. There were statistically significant associations between injuries to different torso parts. In frontal impacts rib fracture indicates the distinct possibility of underlying organ injury. Vehicle damage data coupled with readily diagnosed injuries can suggest the possibility of less easily detectable injuries.
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