Head and Neck Injuries in Human Cadavers From Lateral Impacts 856032

Head-neck injuries occur frequently in pedestrian and occupant automotive accidents even at relatively low speeds. This paper describes the results of laboratory impact experiments using human cadavers in pedestrian/vehicle impacts and lateral-to-medial head impacts at well-known, controlled speeds. Cerebral trauma, with and without skull fracture, is discussed as a function of impact configuration and velocity. Cervical spine and cord injuries are also discussed with regard to the same parameters. Data presented include impactor mass and velocity, head acceleration measurements, complete autopsy and dissection results, and the clinical evaluation of the effect on a person of the observed trauma.
Eighteen cadavers have been exposed to lateral-to-medial head impacts by two mechanisms. Eight of the subjects were exposed to pedestrian impacts wherein their head contacted the hood of the striking vehicle, and 10 were subjected to linear impactor tests in which the head was struck by a 52 lb impactor with a flat faceplate that was rigid for some experiments and padded for others. The presentation and discussions of these experiments in this paper will be directed toward the clinical results and evaluations of the trauma observed in the brains of the cadavers in addition to the measurements of accelerations and the calculations of the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) values. It must be understood at the outset that while lesions in areas of the brain can be determined in impact experiments using human cadavers, and the bodily functions that would be affected by the lesions in these various areas can be identified, the extant functions over a period of time cannot be determined. Even with sectioning of the brain and quantification of the depth (for example) of the trauma in a given area, it is not possible to ascertain the level of recovery that a living subject might be capable of achieving. It is the belief of the authors, however, that the reporting of the types of trauma to the brain and the functional impairment that may be realized (even qualitatively) from specified impacts is important as initial data base information for dissemination to the transportation safety community.
Cadaver selection criteria and the handling and testing protocols were the same for these experiments as those described.


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