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Road traffic accident related morbidity and mortality as seen in an emergency department


Trauma remains the leading cause of death in the first four decades of life. Trauma-related costs is accounted for by accident injuries and the resultant disabilities, lost wages, medical expenses, insurance administration costs and most importantly loss of life become a great national issue in Greece. The purpose of this study is to report in epidemiological manner certain official information regarding prenosocomial events of all traffic accidents in the Southern area of Athens (1 000 000 inhabitants) within a year. The records were a co-operative and cross-matched result from the following services involved : The Department of Surgery and Intensive Care, 'ASCELPEION' Hospital of Voulas, Athens and Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Athens University Medical School.

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From January 1997 to January 1998, 3211 trauma victims were to 1300 traffic accidents. 2173/3211 (67.7%) were males and 1038/3211 (32.3%) females. The mean age of victims was 39 years (range 14–90 years). In more than 70% of the cases the cause of accident was reported as being 'human error' regarding the driver of vehicle.


The two most common incidents of the casualties were collision and deviation. 57/3211 (1.8%) victims died either immediately or during transportation to our hospital. From the victims 43 (75.44%) were males and 14 (24.56%) females. The mean age of victims was 54 years (range 12–82 years). The most frequent fatal accident time were the hours between 14:00–24:00 (28 victims = 49.12%). April and July were the most fatal months (8 victims each = 14%). The primary use of Abbreviated Injury Scoring system (A.I.S.) on those who reached the Hospital alive classified 518 cases (16.13%) as having mild injuries and 2693 cases (83.87%) as having medium and/or severe injuries.

Morbidity and mortality among the population of Greece were 33238 and 2139 respectively within the above period.


Nevertheless newspapers, radio and TV pay more attention to the narcotic and other causes victims than that of the ear accidents which is the main reason of deaths among the young.

We can conclude that the suitable prehospitalized care of the injured victims and the rapid assessment and resuscitation at the Trauma Centers are the cornerstones of the current treatment and improve the outcome of the injured significantly.

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Pikoulis, E., Karlis, F., Theos, C. et al. Road traffic accident related morbidity and mortality as seen in an emergency department. Crit Care 3 (Suppl 1), P229 (2000).

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