Incidence and severity of head and neck injuries in victims of road traffic crashes: In an economically developed country

Int Emerg Nurs. 2009 Jan;17(1):52-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ienj.2008.07.007. Epub 2008 Sep 12.


Background: Head and neck injuries following the road traffic crashes (RTCs) are the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in most developed and developing countries and may also result in temporary or permanent disability.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the incidence pattern of head and neck injuries, investigate its trend and identify the severity of injuries involved with road traffic crashes (RTCs) during the period 2001-2006.

Design: This is a retrospective descriptive hospital based study.

Setting: The patients with head and neck injuries were seen and treated in the Accident and Emergency Department of the Hamad General Hospital and other Trauma Centers of the Hamad Medical Corporation following the road traffic crashes during the period 2001-2006.

Patients and methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of 6709 patients attended and treated at the Accident and Emergency and Trauma centers for head and neck injuries over a 6 year period. Head and neck injuries were determined according to the ICD 10 criteria. Of these, 3013 drivers, 2502 passengers, 704 pedestrians and 490 two wheel riders (motor bike and cyclists). Details of all the road traffic crash patients were compiled in the database of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the data of patients with head and neck injuries were extracted from this database.

Results: A total of 6709 patients with head and neck injuries was reported during the study period. Majority of the victims were non-Qataris (68.7%), men (85.9%) and in the age group 20-44 years (68.5%). There were statistical significant differences in relation to age, nationality, gender, and accident during week ends for head and neck injuries (p<0.001). The male to female ratio for head and neck injury was 6.1:1. There was a disproportionately higher incidence of accidents during weekends (27.8%). Majority of the patients had mild injury (87.2%), followed by moderate (7.3%) and severe (5.5%). The highest frequency of head injury was among the young adults 20-44 years (68.5%). There was a remarkable increase in the incidence rate of head and neck injuries per 10,000 population in the year 2005 (18.2) compared to previous years and declined slightly in the year 2006 (17.1). Overall, the incidence of head and neck injuries from road traffic crashes are increasing.

Conclusion: The present study findings provided an overview of head and neck injuries in Qatar from road traffic crashes. The incidence of head and neck injuries is still very high in Qatar, but the severity of injury was mild in most of the victims. The findings of the study highlighted the need for taking urgent steps for safety of people especially drivers and passengers.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cost of Illness
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control
  • Developed Countries* / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Neck Injuries / etiology
  • Neck Injuries / prevention & control
  • Population Surveillance
  • Qatar / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety Management
  • Sex Distribution
  • Young Adult