Alcohol, central nervous system injury, and time to death in fatal motor vehicle crashes

Short Title:
Alcohol, central nervous system injury, and time to death in fatal motor vehicle crashes
Model System:
Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
1996, vol. 20, issue 9, pp 1518-22
Publication Website:
Retrospective study examines data from 401 motor vehicle crashes (MVC) in Michigan (1985-1991) to determine whether alcohol-intoxicated MVC fatalities with central nervous system injuries (CNSI) were more likely to die in the immediate postinjury period than victims with CNSI who were sober. Medical examiner records were reviewed for age, blood-alcohol concentration (BAC), and time to death (TTD). Injury severity, anatomical profile scores and G scores (which relate the anatomical profile component value to survival probability) were calculated and used to identify CNSI subjects. Alcohol cases with BAC greater than/equal to 100 mg/dl (n=99) were significantly younger and more frequently had TTD less than 1 hour than sober cases (n=233): odds ratio 1.62 [0.95 CI(1.02 to 2.56)]. Overall, CNSI cases (n=297) were significantly younger and had fewer thoracic injuries, but did not differ significantly according to TTD, compared to non-CNSI cases. However, alcohol-related CNSI cases (n=77) were more than twice as likely to have TTD less than 1 hour: odds ratio 2.04[0.95 CI(1.13 to 3.70)]. For alcohol related isolated CNSI cases, the odds ratio for TTD less than 1 hour, compared with non-isolated CNSI cases was 8.25 (0.95 CI; 0.66 to 102.5). Injury Severity score, anatomical profile, and G scores were not significantly different for alcohol and non alcohol CNSI cases, whether isolated or non-isolated. These data suggest that alcohol intoxication is associated with increased frequency of early death in MVC victims with CNSI, despite a lack of detectable differences in anatomical injury scoring. This document is included in NCDDR's Guide to Substance Abuse and Disability Resources produced by NIDRR Grantees, number D.8.
Zink, B. J.
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