Analysis of experimental injuries to obese occupants with different postures in frontal impact

Accid Anal Prev. 2023 Dec:193:107294. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2023.107294. Epub 2023 Sep 16.


The objective of the present study was to analyze injuries and their patterns to obese occupants in frontal impacts with upright and reclined postures using experimental data. Twelve obese post-mortem human subjects (PMHS) were positioned on a sled buck with seatback angles of 250 or 450 from the vertical, termed as upright and reclined postures. They were restrained with a seat belt and pretensioner. Frontal impact tests were conducted at 8.9 or 13.9 m/s, termed as low and high velocities. After the test, x-rays and CTs were taken, and an autopsy was conducted. The Maximum AIS (MAIS) and Injury Severity Score (ISS) were calculated, and injury patterns were analyzed. The mean age, stature, total body mass, and body mass indexes were 67 years, 112 kg, and 1.7 m, and 38 kg/m2. None of these parameters were statistically significantly different between any groups. The mean thickness of the soft tissues in the left anterior lateral, central, and right anterior lateral aspects were 44 mm, 24 mm, and 46 mm. In the low-velocity tests, the ISS data were 9, 18, and 9 for the upright, and 9, 9, and 4 for the reclined specimens, and in the high velocity tests, they were 29, 17, and 27 for the upright, and 27, 13, and 27 for the reclined postures. Other data are given in the paper. For both postures at the low velocity, injuries were concentrated at one body region, and the ISS data were in the mild category; in contrast, at the high velocity, other body regions also sustained injuries, and the ISS data were in the major trauma category. From MAIS perspectives, injuries to obese occupants did not change between postures and were independent of the energy input to the system. The association of chest with pelvis injuries in upright and reclined postures to obese occupants may have additional consequences following the initial injury to this group of our population.

Keywords: Abbreviated injury scale; Biomechanics; Frontal impact, sled tests; Human tolerance; Injury severity score; Obesity.