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Ann Emerg Med. 1994 Apr;23(4):802-6.

Motorcycle helmets and spinal injuries: dispelling the myth.

Author information

1
University of Illinois, Chicago.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To determine the relationship between spinal injuries and helmet use in motorcycle trauma.

DESIGN:

Retrospective case series.

SETTING:

Twenty-eight hospitals in four midwestern states--Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin--representing urban, suburban, and rural settings.

PATIENTS AND OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Consecutive sample of motorcyclists treated at the participating centers.

INTERVENTIONS:

None.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The major variables evaluated were helmet use, ethanol use, and significant head or spinal injuries.

RESULTS:

1,153 cases were analyzed. Helmet use was not significantly associated with spinal injuries (odds ratio, 1.12; 95% confidence intervals, 0.79, 1.58) whereas head injury was markedly decreased with helmet use (odds ratio, 0.35; 95% confidence intervals, 0.23, 0.53). Ethanol use was a significant variable in both head (odds ratio, 3.89) and spinal (odds ratio, 2.41) injuries.

CONCLUSION:

In contrast to a significant protective relationship identified for head injuries, helmet use was not associated with an increased or decreased occurrence rate of spinal injuries in motorcycle trauma.

PMID:
8161050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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