Evaluation of the Kinematic Responses and Potential Injury Mechanisms of the Jejunum during Seatbelt Loading 2015-22-0009
High-speed biplane x-ray was used to research the kinematics of the small intestine in response to seatbelt loading. Six driver-side 3-point seatbelt simulations were conducted with the lap belt routed superior to the pelvis of six unembalmed human cadavers. Testing was conducted with each cadaver perfused, ventilated, and positioned in a fixed-back configuration with the spine angled 30° from the vertical axis. Four tests were conducted with the cadavers in an inverted position, and two tests were conducted with the cadavers upright. The jejunum was instrumented with radiopaque markers using a minimally-invasive, intraluminal approach without inducing preparation-related damage to the small intestine. Tests were conducted at a target peak lap belt speed of 3 m/s, resulting in peak lap belt loads ranging from 5.4-7.9 kN. Displacement of the radiopaque markers was recorded using high-speed x-ray from two perspectives. Marker trajectories were tracked using motion analysis software and projected into calibrated three-dimensional coordinates to quantify the seatbelt and jejunum kinematics for each test. Five of the six tests resulted in jejunum damage. Based on the autopsy findings and the assessment of the belt and jejunum kinematics, it is likely that direct abdominal interactions with the seatbelt resulting in compression and stretch of the jejunum are components of the mechanisms of crash-induced jejunum injuries. In addition, the presence of fluid or air in the portion of the jejunum in the load path appears to be necessary to create jejunum damage in the cadaver model. Overall, the kinematics and damage data generated in this study may be useful for future restraint system development.