Emerg Med J 23:27-31 doi:10.1136/emj.2004.022392
  • Original Article

Motor vehicle trauma: analysis of injury profiles by road-user category

  1. H Markogiannakis1,2,
  2. E Sanidas1,
  3. E Messaris2,
  4. D Koutentakis3,
  5. K Alpantaki4,
  6. A Kafetzakis5,
  7. D Tsiftsis1
  1. 1Department of Surgical Oncology, Herakleion Medical School, University of Crete, Greece
  2. 21st Department of Propaedeutic Surgery, Hippocration Hospital, University of Athens, Greece
  3. 3Department of Neurosurgery, Herakleion Medical School, University of Crete, Greece
  4. 4Department of Orthopaedics, Herakleion Medical School, University of Crete, Greece
  5. 5Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Herakleion Medical School, University of Crete, Greece
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr H Markogiannakis
 Kerasoudos 54, Zografou, 157 71 Athens, Greece; markogiannakis{at}
  • Accepted 8 April 2005


Background: Vehicle accidents in Greece are among the leading causes of death and the primary one in young people. The mechanism of injury influences the patterns of injury in victims of vehicle accidents.

Objective: Identification and analysis of injury profiles of motor-vehicle trauma patients in a Greek level I trauma centre, by road-user category.

Patients and methods: The trauma registry data of Herakleion University Hospital of adult trauma patients admitted to the hospital after a vehicle accident between 1997 and 2000 were retrospectively examined. Patients were grouped based on the mechanism of injury into three road-user categories: car occupants, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.

Results: Of 730 consecutive patients, 444 were motorcyclists (60.8%), 209 were car occupants (28.7%), and 77 were pedestrians (10.5%). Young men constituted the majority of injured motorcyclists whereas older patients (p = 0.0001) and women (p = 0.0001) represented a substantial proportion of the injured pedestrians. With regard to the spectrum of injuries in the groups, craniocerebral injuries were significantly more frequent in motorcyclists and pedestrians (p = 0.0001); abdominal (p = 0.009) and spinal cord trauma (p = 0.007) in car occupants; and pelvic injuries (p = 0.0001) in pedestrians. Although the car occupants had the highest Injury Severity Score (ISS) (p = 0.04), the pedestrians had the poorest outcome with substantially higher mortality (p = 0.007) than the other two groups.

Conclusions: The results reveal a clear association between different road-user categories and age and sex incidence patterns, as well as outcomes and injury profiles. Recognition of these features would be useful in designing effective prevention strategies and in comprehensive prehospital and inhospital treatment of motor-vehicle trauma patients.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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