Seat belts, airbags reduce renal injury, nephrectomy rates

May 16, 2014

Drivers or passengers involved in motor vehicle collisions have reduced rates of high-grade renal injury and nephrectomy when wearing protective devices, according to research presented at an AUA press briefing on Friday.

Drivers or passengers involved in motor vehicle collisions have reduced rates of high-grade renal injury and nephrectomy when wearing protective devices, according to research presented at an AUA press briefing on Friday.

“Motor vehicle collisions are the most common mechanism resulting in renal trauma, accounting [for] up to 66% of all kidney injuries. However, there exists a paucity of data on the role of motor vehicle protective devices and the reduction of kidney injuries,” explained co-author Marc Bjurlin, DO, of New York University Langone Medical Center, New York.

For the study, Dr. Bjurlin and his co-authors set out to compare renal injuries and surgical management of motor vehicle collision (MVC) occupants by whether they were utilizing protective devices such as seat belts and airbags using the National Trauma Data Bank. The primary endpoint was reduction in high-grade renal injuries (defined as grades III-IV), and the secondary endpoint was reduction in overall nephrectomy rate. MVC occupants were classified as follows:

  • no protective device

  • wearing a seat belt (lap belt and/or shoulder belt)

  • airbag deployed.

“When evaluating high-grade renal injuries by protective device, we found that patients without a protective device sustained a renal injury in 45% of the cases. Seat belts and airbags are associated with a decrease in renal injury, but only seat belts… and the combination of seat belts and airbags, reached statistical significance,” Dr. Bjurlin said.

Specifically, Dr. Bjurlin reported that the combination of seat belts and airbags was associated with a 23.1% relative risk reduction for high-grade injury, and the rates of nephrectomy by more than half.

“Understanding the impact of seat belts and airbags on renal injuries and nephrectomy rates provides additional evidence to support the role of these protective devices,” Dr. Bjurlin concluded.

Dr. Bjurlin announced at the briefing that the study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Urology.

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