Trauma Research Coordinator PennMedicine - Lancaster General Health
Introduction/Purpose: In 2003, Pennsylvania (PA) repealed its universal motorcycle helmet law and there has been a subsequent increase in motorcyclist fatalities. We sought to evaluate the demographics and outcomes of motorcycle crashes (MCC) in Pennsylvania since the law’s repeal. We hypothesized that MCC trauma patients who did not wear a helmet would have a higher mortality and more morbidities and disabilities than their helmeted counterparts.
Methods or Case Description: The Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study (PTOS) database was retrospectively queried from 2003-2018 for all adult (age ≥15) trauma patients admitted to trauma centers in Pennsylvania for motorcycle crashes (MCC) and divided into helmeted and unhelmeted groups. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and clinical variables were compared between both groups to determine potential differences.
Outcomes: From the PTOS query, 23,289 patients were identified. Unhelmeted MCC patients were more likely to be male, younger, intoxicated, black and of Hispanic ethnicity. Prehospital data showed unhelmeted MCC were more likely to have worse field GCS and were more likely to be intubated. They were then more likely to require admission, ICU/step-down care, and operative interventions. The mean ISS (16.47 vs. 14.57, p< 0.001) and AIS-head (2.67 vs. 2.48, p< 0.001) were also greater in the unhelmeted group. Unhelmeted MCC had more ICU and ventilator days, longer hospital stays, and higher mortality (6.77% vs. 3.94%, p< 0.001). Those who survived their injuries were also less likely to be discharged home and were less likely to be independent in their own feeding, expression, and social interaction at discharge.
Conclusion: Unhelmeted MCC result in a higher morbidity, mortality and disability. This study indicates that further sub-analyses need to be performed to identify individual populations in need of injury prevention programs.
Upon completion, the participant will be able to understand the mortality differences between patients in unhelmeted motorcycle crashes compared to those who were helmeted.
Upon completion, the participant will be able to understand the morbidity differences between patients in unhelmeted motorcycle crashes compared to those who were helmeted.
Upon completion, the participant will be able to understand the post injury disability differences between patients in unhelmeted motorcycle crashes compared to those who were helmeted.