Cost, demographics and injury profile of adult pedestrian trauma in inner Sydney

ANZ J Surg. 2006 Jan-Feb;76(1-2):43-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2006.03646.x.


Background: Pedestrian accidents are associated with substantial morbidity, mortality and cost; however, there has been very little published work on this topic in Australasia over recent years. The objective of this study was to examine the demographics, injury profile, outcomes and cost of pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents in a central city hospital in Sydney.

Methods: Consecutive pedestrians injured by motor vehicles and admitted as inpatients during the years 2002-2004 were identified from our prospective trauma registry. A retrospective review included patient profiles (age, sex, time of injury and blood alcohol), injury pattern, cost, morbidity and mortality.

Results: A total of 180 patients (64% men and 36% women) with a mean age of 46 and mean injury severity score of 14.1 were identified. Two peak injury periods were observed: one between 17.00 and 18.00 hours (P < 0.01) and the other between 20.00 and 22.00 hours (P < 0.01). Significantly more injuries occurred on Friday (P < 0.01) and during autumn months (P < 0.05). Musculoskeletal (34.3%), head (31.8%) and external (20.2%) injuries predominated. Forty-nine per cent of patients tested positive for consuming alcohol, with an average blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.22%. Alcohol consumption was associated with a worse outcome in terms of hospital and intensive care unit stay, morbidity and mortality. The average length of stay was 13.4 days costing $A 16320 per admission. Sixteen patients died (mortality rate of 8.9%), with the highest rate in the elderly group (22.7%) (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Pedestrian accidents in inner Sydney are common with injuries predominating in intoxicated adult males. Mortality was higher in the elderly group. Injuries to the head and lower extremities predominate. Hospital stays are lengthy, resulting in a high cost for each admission.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / economics
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Spinal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Ethanol