Incidence, severity, and patterns of intrathoracic and intra-abdominal injuries in motorcycle crashes.
BACKGROUND: Although severe head injuries have been reduced with helmet use, little has been done to address the severity of trauma to organs of the trunk in motorcycle crashes. We detail the frequency, severity, and pattern of intrathoracic and intra-abdominal injuries that may be helpful in the recognition and medical treatment of such injuries. METHODS: Diagnostic and treatment information from emergency room, hospital, and coroner records from a cohort of motorcyclists injured from 1991 to 1992 were obtained from 28 hospitals and 11 coroners in California. RESULTS: Multiple intrathoracic and intra-abdominal injuries were common, and the number and bilaterality of rib fractures were strongly associated with chances of injuries to the thoracic and abdominal organs. CONCLUSION: Patients with severe injury in one anatomic region of the trunk are very likely to have severe injuries in the same or other anatomic regions. These patients are best treated in trauma centers, where rapid diagnosis and treatment are possible.