Evaluation of aortic injury in driver fatalities occurring in motor vehicle accidents in the state of maryland for 2003 and 2004

Mary G. Ripple, Jami R. Grant, Joan Mealey, David R. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Incorporating epidemiological and pathologic factors, a retrospective analysis of aortic injury and driving fatalities was conducted. To better understand the mechanism of injury, data were compiled for decedent demographics, autopsy and toxicology findings, and accident circumstances, with emphasis on directional impact. Review of the autopsy files of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the State of Maryland in 2003 and 2004, identified 150 cases of aortic injury recorded in 537 autopsied drivers. Aortic lacerations occurred in 96% of the cases with aortic injury, two thirds of which were complete or near complete transections. A large percentage of cases involved a side impact collision. Consistent with extant research on frontal and lateral impacts, the majority of aortic injuries occurred at the ligamentum arteriosum. Also, the mechanism of aortic injury seems to be similar for side and frontal impact collisions, involving a combination of rapid deceleration forces along with chest and/or upper abdominal compression. This study emphasizes the importance of side impact collisions as a cause of aortic injury. Aortic lacerations have a high mortality rate and better motor vehicle design may prevent this type of injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aortic laceration
  • Forensic
  • Motor vehicle collision
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medicine(all)

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