Devastating consequences of subway accidents: traumatic amputations

Am Surg. 2006 Jan;72(1):74-6.


The efficiencies of the subway system are tempered by the occurrence of accidents, some with devastating injuries. The purpose of this study is to examine our experience with traumatic amputations after subway accidents. A retrospective trauma registry review (1989-2003) of 41 patients who presented to Bellevue Hospital, New York City, with amputations from subway accidents was undertaken to examine the following end points: age, sex, Injury Severity Score, time and mechanism of accident, history of psychiatric disorders and alcohol use, admission vital signs, Glasgow Coma Scale score, amputation type, associated injuries, limb salvage rate, operative procedures, mortality, and disposition. Elevated alcohol levels and prior psychiatric diagnoses were present in 39 per cent and 17 per cent of the patients, respectively. Patients were stable on admission with a mean systolic blood pressure of 114 mmHg, hematocrit of 32, and Glasgow Coma Scale score range of 13 to 15. The most common amputation was below knee, and patients underwent an average of three operative procedures. Limb salvage was attempted in eight patients with no successes. Amputation wound infection rate was 32 per cent and mortality rate was 5 per cent. Victims of subway trauma who arrive at the hospital with devastating amputations have an excellent chance of surviving to discharge.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation, Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Amputation, Traumatic / etiology
  • Amputation, Traumatic / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Leg Injuries / etiology
  • Leg Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Railroads*
  • Replantation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Severity Indices