Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions

Lars Uhrenholt, Michael D. Freeman, Anne Grethe Jurik, Lisbeth L. Jensen, Markil Gregersen, Lene W T Boel, Sean Kohles, Asser H. Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Neck injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions (MVC), often referred to as whiplash trauma and injury, often demonstrate little or no evidence of significant tissue damage. In rare instances, however, serious injury to the anterior neck organ injuries can result from such trauma. The present study describes esophageal injury associated with rear-impact collisions, based on a unique case report, review of the scientific literature and a query in the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) database of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The Medline search and present case study totaled five cases of rear-impact collision-related serious esophageal injury (laceration or rupture). In the four published cases all patients survived, whereas in the presented case study, the patient died due to mediastinitis and sepsis. The NASS query revealed an additional three cases out of a total of 55,926 investigated crashes. All three cases were associated with fatalities.Although no anatomical or bioengineering studies have presented data on the behavior of the esophagus during rear-impact whiplash loading, sudden tensile and/or compressive forces is the likely explanation of injury, often in combination with a local fracture of a vertebral body. In these 8 cases significant esophageal injury carried a substantial (50%) risk of mortality. Clinicians should be aware of the potential for significant complications in the whiplash trauma-exposed patient who complains of chest pain, mid-thoracic pain, discomfort in the neck and throat, respiratory distress, or hoarseness. For those forensic specialists involved in whiplash cases these study results highlight the need to consider esophageal injuries as a rare but potential consequence of whiplash trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalForensic Science International
Volume206
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 20 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Wounds and Injuries
Neck Injuries
Chest Pain
Whiplash Injuries
Mediastinitis
Bioengineering
Hoarseness
Lacerations
Motor Vehicles
Pharynx
Esophagus
Rupture
Sepsis
Neck
Databases
Safety
Mortality

Keywords

  • Esophageal
  • Esophagus
  • Fatal road traffic crash
  • Whiplash injury
  • Whiplash trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

Uhrenholt, L., Freeman, M. D., Jurik, A. G., Jensen, L. L., Gregersen, M., Boel, L. W. T., ... Thomsen, A. H. (2011). Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions. Forensic Science International, 206(1-3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.019

Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions. / Uhrenholt, Lars; Freeman, Michael D.; Jurik, Anne Grethe; Jensen, Lisbeth L.; Gregersen, Markil; Boel, Lene W T; Kohles, Sean; Thomsen, Asser H.

In: Forensic Science International, Vol. 206, No. 1-3, 20.03.2011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Uhrenholt, L, Freeman, MD, Jurik, AG, Jensen, LL, Gregersen, M, Boel, LWT, Kohles, S & Thomsen, AH 2011, 'Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions', Forensic Science International, vol. 206, no. 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.019
Uhrenholt L, Freeman MD, Jurik AG, Jensen LL, Gregersen M, Boel LWT et al. Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions. Forensic Science International. 2011 Mar 20;206(1-3). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.019
Uhrenholt, Lars ; Freeman, Michael D. ; Jurik, Anne Grethe ; Jensen, Lisbeth L. ; Gregersen, Markil ; Boel, Lene W T ; Kohles, Sean ; Thomsen, Asser H. / Esophageal injury in fatal rear-impact collisions. In: Forensic Science International. 2011 ; Vol. 206, No. 1-3.
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