Pedestrian-motor vehicle trauma: an analysis of injury profiles by age

J Am Coll Surg. 1996 Jan;182(1):17-23.


Background: Pedestrian-motor vehicle trauma (PMVT) is a common mechanism of injury in urban populations.

Study design: We performed a retrospective review of 273 PMVT victims (16 percent of all patients with blunt injuries) seen at a Level I trauma center over a three-year period. Patients were analyzed by age and grouped as children (age younger than 16 years), adults (age 16 to 59 years), or elderly (age older than 59 years).

Results: Children constituted 27 percent of the patients, adults 54 percent, and elderly 19 percent. This mixture had significantly more children and elderly than the population at large or the entire blunt trauma population at our hospital. The majority of patients (66 percent) were male, with females outnumbering males only in the elderly group. Elderly patients were more frequently admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and had significantly longer ICU and hospital stays. Injury Severity Scores were successively higher in each age group and significantly higher in the elderly. Extremity trauma was most common in all three groups, followed by head injuries. The elderly patients were more prone to chest and pelvic injuries and the children most often had femur fractures. Operations were performed in 22 percent of the patients; orthopedic procedures were most frequent. The mortality rate was 6 percent, with 69 percent of the deaths occurring during the initial resuscitation efforts. The mortality rate was significantly higher in the elderly patients (13 percent). The majority of accidents occurred during nighttime hours, especially in the adult group. Half of the accidents occurred on the weekend, with the greatest number on Saturday. One-third of the accidents occurred during the months of October to December.

Conclusions: Pedestrian-motor vehicle trauma is a common injury, with distinct epidemiological features that may be useful in accident prevention strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seasons
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Centers
  • Walking*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery