Comparison of injury mortality risk in motor vehicle crash versus other etiologies.


The mortality risk ratio (MRR), a measure of the proportion of people who died that sustained a given injury, is reported to be among the most powerful discriminators of mortality following trauma. The primary aim was to determine whether mechanistic differences exist and are quantifiable when comparing MRR-based injury severity across two broadly defined etiologies (motor vehicle crash (MVC) versus non-MVC) for the clarification of important injury types that have some room for improvement by emergency treatment and vehicle design. All International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision (ICD-9) coded injuries in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) database were stratified into MVC and non-MVC groups and the MRR for each injury was computed within each group. Injuries were classified as 11 different types for MRR comparison between etiologies. Overall, MRRs for specific injuries were 10-18% lower for MVC compared to non-MVC etiologies. MVCs however produced much higher mean MRRs for crushing injuries (0.184 versus 0.072) and internal injuries to the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis (0.200 versus 0.169). Non-MVCs produced much higher MRRs for intracranial injuries (0.199 versus 0.250). Analysis of the top 95% most frequent MVC injuries revealed higher MVC MRR values for 78% of the injuries with MRR ratios indicating an average 50% increase in a given injury's MRR when MVC was the etiology. Addressing the large differences in MRR in between etiologies for identical injuries could provide a reduction in fatalities and may be important to patient triage and vehicle safety design.