Obesity Increases Risk of Severe Head Injuries

Regular readers of these pages may recall a previous article on the development of bariatric crash test dummies.

A new paper, just published in the Journal of Trauma now provides new evidence on just how important this work can be.

In this study Fernanda Tagliaferri and colleagues from the Ospedale Cesare Magati, Scandiano, Italy, analysed data from all front seat occupants with at least one injury, older than 16 years old involved in a frontal collision from 1993 to 2005 from the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) database.

In this analysis of almost 6000 patients, obese occupants had an 85% higher risk of a fatal outcome and an almost 40% higher risk of a severe injury. Of particular concern is the fact that obese occupants had an almost 2 fold higher incidence of sustaining the most severe type of head injury.

These findings are of particular significance as severely obese patients are often unable to comfortably use the seat belts in most cars.

Obviously, a topic that poses some challenges for car makers and trauma centres alike (not to mention the obese occupants themselves).

Edmonton, Alberta