Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Bags, Seat Belts Important In Preventing Spine Fractures

Date:
January 27, 2009
Source:
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Summary:
In 2007, there were over 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and of those, 2.5 million were injured and more than 41,000 lost their lives. Spine fractures are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. New research provides evidence that the combination of air bags and seat belts affords the best protection against spinal fractures sustained in motor vehicle crashes.

In 2007, there were over 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and of those, 2.5 million were injured and more than 41,000 lost their lives. Spine fractures are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. This research provides evidence that the combination of air bags and seat belts affords the best protection against spinal fractures sustained in motor vehicle crashes.

An article and accompanying editorial published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine provide compelling evidence that the combination of air bags and seat belts affords the best protection against spine fractures sustained in motor vehicle crashes. This research examined the records of more than 20,000 crash victims age 16 and older admitted to Wisconsin hospitals after car or truck crashes from 1994 to 2002.

Article authors are Marjorie C. Wang, MD, MPH, Frank Pintar, PhD, Narayan Yoganandan, PhD, and Dennis J. Maiman, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The editorial was written by Charles H. Tator, MD, PHD, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital and University of Toronto.

In 2007, there were over 6 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Nearly 2.5 million of those accident victims were injured and more than 41,000 lost their lives. “Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States for people age 65 and younger – and spine fractures – are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality,” said Dr. Wang. A spine fracture is a break in one or more of the bones of the spine (vertebrae in the back or neck). Spine fractures can lead to a complete SCI, which may result in some degree of paralysis or even death. Of the 2,530 patients with spine factures analyzed in this study, 64 died in the hospital.

“I commend Dr. Wang and her group for performing this extensive, labor-intensive epidemiological study of motor vehicle crash victims. This research offers an invaluable assessment of air bags and seat belts – two safety measures that when used together – show evidence of decreasing the risk of these traumatic and often devastating injuries,” stated Dr. Tator.

Dr. Wang and her team analyzed the data and correlated the incidence of spine fractures with air bag and seat belt usage. Of the 29,860 motor vehicle crash hospital admissions, a data group of 20,276 drivers and front seat passengers was analyzed. This group met the following criteria: drivers or front seat passengers age 16 or older with complete ICD-9-CM and air bag/seat belt data who were not ejected from the vehicle.

Key research findings include:

  • Use of a seat belt and an air bag together was associated with a decreased risk of a spine fracture, including more severe fractures.
  • Only 14 percent of the drivers and front seat occupants involved in Wisconsin motor vehicle crashes between 1994 and 2002 were protected by the combination of air bags and seat belts, although this number increased from 1994 to 2002.
  • An alarming 38 percent of these crash victims were not wearing seat belts.
  • There were 2,530 spine fractures (12.5 percent) identified among the 20,276 hospital admissions: 1,067 cervical fractures, 565 thoracic fractures, and 1,034 lumbosacral fractures. Eighty-two patients (8 percent) with a cervical fracture also had a thoracic and/or a lumbosacral fracture. Fifty-four patients with a thoracic fracture, (10 percent) also had a lumbosacral fracture. Eight percent of these were classified as severe.
  • Use of an air bag alone was associated with an increased risk of a severe thoracic spine fracture.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has acknowledged that speeding and alcohol are two principal crash factors, as has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “An important step would be to build a national coalition which advocates for reduced speed limits, mandatory installation of air bags, enforcement/use of seat belts, and deployment of electronic data record systems (EDRs) in all cars and trucks,” remarked Dr. Tator.

“It is possible that improved imaging techniques contributed to an increase in the diagnosis of minor spine fractures,” stated Dr. Wang. “However, in our study, patients with spine fractures had longer hospital stays and higher Injury Severity Scores, suggesting that patients with motor vehicle-related spine fractures are more severely injured. Additional research including improved classification of spine fractures will help further clarify the overall public health impact of these injuries. In conclusion, state and national resources should be dedicated towards increasing the use of both air bags and seat belts,” concluded Dr. Wang.

Unrestricted research support was provided by EBI Medical, Inc., and Abbott Spine. Dr. Wang receives unrelated research support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marjorie C. Wang, M.P.H., Frank Pintar, Narayan Yoganandan, and Dennis J. Maiman. The continued burden of spine fractures after motor vehicle crashes. Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Online 23 Jan 2009; Feb 2009 print issue DOI: 10.3171/SPI.2008.10.08279

Cite This Page:

American Association of Neurological Surgeons. "Air Bags, Seat Belts Important In Preventing Spine Fractures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090124113659.htm>.
American Association of Neurological Surgeons. (2009, January 27). Air Bags, Seat Belts Important In Preventing Spine Fractures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090124113659.htm
American Association of Neurological Surgeons. "Air Bags, Seat Belts Important In Preventing Spine Fractures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090124113659.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins