Risk Factors and Pattern of Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents in Holy Karbala

Abstract

Background: Worldwide, the morbidity and mortality among motorcyclists involved in roadtraffic accidents is high. In Iraq, since 2003, there have been an increasing number ofmotorcycles in the streets; this phenomenon was particularly noticed in the Province of HolyKarbala.Objective: To shed light on the risk factors and pattern of injuries in motorcycle accidents inHoly Karbala.Design: Hospital-based cross-sectional, study.Setting: Al-Husain teaching hospital in Holy Karbala in Iraq, from 7th November 2010 to17th February 2011.Patients and Methods: This study involved all injured motorcyclists involved in road trafficaccidents who were admitted to the emergency department and their mortalities which werereferred to the medico-legal department (N=456). The information collected includedpersonal identification data, the person’s position on the motorcycle during the event, inaddition, the type and site of injury and the outcome of the victims were reported.Results: The mean age (± standard deviation) of the subjects was (24 ± 10.12 years); Morethan one quarter (25.7%) of the injured motorcyclists (26.1% of drivers and 22.7% of pillionpassengers) were within 15-19 years of age. Most of the drivers (61.7%) had low level ofeducation; 53.9% were smokers, 2.9% were alcoholics and 32.7% had history of previousaccidents of whom 35 (11.5% of them) had more than one accident. The lower limb was thecommonest site of injury (61.8% of patients); the upper limb and the head were the secondand third leading site of injury (26.1 % and 23.7% respectively). About half of the patients(49.8%) complained of fractures. More than quarter of the cases (25.6%) needed admission tothe wards or the intensive care unit. The case fatality rate was found to be 5%.Conclusions: Teenagers motorcycle drivers are the most commonly affected category inmotorcycle accidents. Lower limb injuries represent the commonest site and fracturesrepresent the commonest form of injury among motorcyclists involved in road trafficaccidents. A considerable proportion of cases need inpatient medical care. Head injuries werethe predominant cause of deaths