Airbag-induced lethal cervical trauma

J Trauma. 1997 Jun;42(6):1148-51. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199706000-00029.


In a frontal collision of a car (taxicab) perpendicular into a streetcar with an impact speed of approximately 30 kph (20 mph), the driver survived with minor injuries. The front-seat passenger was extremely "out-of-position," with her seat positioned nearly fully forward. This in combination with her short stature led to fatal injuries resulting from the inflating airbag (U.S.-type) striking against her face and chin. At the scene, she was found essentially clinically dead, but was resuscitated and died finally 13 days later. Postmortem examination showed a complete disruption of all ventral ligaments between the base of the skull and the first and second vertebrae, a nearly complete ventral rupture of the medulla, and diffuse axonal injury of the brain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adult
  • Air Bags / adverse effects*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans