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J Forensic Sci. 2003 May;48(3):626-30.

Diffuse vascular injury in fatal road traffic accident victims: its relationship to diffuse axonal injury.

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Laboratory of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, School of Medicine, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


The authors have reported a macro- and microscopic study of brain lesions in 120 victims of fatal road traffic accidents, independent of the survival time. Diffuse vascular injury (DVI) was found in 14 patients (11.7%). All patients with DVI died within 24 h after the accident. The 14 patients with DVI also showed severe (Grade 2 or 3) diffuse axonal injury (DAI). Since DVI is restricted to road traffic accidents and incompatible with life, the high frequency observed in our series could be explained by the fact that all 120 patients were victims of road traffic accidents, and 69.2% had died within 24 h after the accident. The association between DVI and severe DAI (Grades 2 and 3) suggests that both lesions depend on the same mechanism, with the degree of axonal and vascular damage being determined by the intensity of the head acceleration. Our results show a relationship between DVI and DAI that suggest there may be a spectrum or at least a continuum between these entities as distinct from DVI being a separate entity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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