Supraglottic and subglottic airway injury due to deployment and rupture of an automobile airbag

Am Surg. 1997 Nov;63(11):979-81.


A 46-year-old white female with underlying interstitial lung disease and asthma was driving a pickup truck when it was struck broadside. The airbag inflated and then ruptured, forcing inhalation of its contents. This produced facial desquamation, productive cough, wheezing, and headache. Chest radiograph showed bilateral interstitial fibrosis. Pulmonary function tests demonstrated small airway obstruction, hyperinflation, and impaired diffusion. Computerized tomography showed extensive sinusitis. She improved following treatment with inhaled steroids, bronchodilators, and oral antibiotics. Inhalation of the airbag contents produced supraglottic and subglottic airway inflammation, resulting in sinusitis and exacerbation of her underlying asthma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Air Bags / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / complications
  • Dust / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure*
  • Irritants
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / etiology*
  • Sinusitis / etiology*


  • Dust
  • Irritants