At all times, motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) result in a number of high-grade renal injuries. During such collisions, protective devices like seat belts and airbags have saved lives and prevented injuries. Primarily, seat belts are designed to spread the force of a collision across the upper chest and pelvis and safeguard one against chest and other internal injuries.
Air bags are deployed to cushion the contact between an occupant and steering wheel, dashboard and vehicle doors in some cars. Despite this knowhow, there are people who disregard the use of seat belts or airbags in a vehicle. This prompted researchers from Advocate Illinois Medical Center, Baylor College and New York University to compare effectiveness of airbags and set belts on high-grade renal injuries and nephrectomy rates. 2010 to 2011 National Trauma Data Bank data for MVC occupants with renal injuries were queried.
Those affected were grouped by protective device and airbag deployment. Surgical management was evaluated for nephrectomy. Intergroup comparisons were analyzed for renal injury grades, nephrectomy, length of stay, and mortality with chi-square or one-way ANOVA.
Research indicates of 287,174 MVCs reviewed, 2,580 renal injuries occurred. Further revelations include: When airbags and seat belts were used together, it reduced relative risk of high-grade renal injuries by nearly 23% and nephrectomy rates by more than half.
Injured occupants who were not protected by airbags or a seatbelt accounted for of high-grade renal injury at 44.3% when compared to those with seat belts at 40.1%, airbags at 42.3% and seat belts with airbags at 34.1%.
Rate of nephrectomy stood at 47.5% for those without a protective device when compared to those with seat belts at 23.7%, airbags at 14.4% and seat belts with air bags at 14.4%.
“Motor vehicle accidents can cause a variety of serious personal injuries, including high-grade renal trauma,” said Dr. McAninch. “These data clearly demonstrate occupants who wear seat belts and whose airbags deploy during an accident have less of a chance of suffering high-grade renal injury or the need for a nephrectomy as compared to those who do not wear a seat belt or have an airbag. This knowledge can support the many public awareness campaigns regarding the pros and cons to wearing seat belts.”