Motorcycle accidents: morbidity and associated factors in a city of northeast of Brazil
Motorcycle accidents are becoming a public health problem in developing world. The objective of this paper was to assess the factors related to morbidity and mortality among victims of motorcycle accidents in a trauma center. An analysis of 9,734 medical records of patients hospitalized for external causes at the Regional Emergency and Trauma Hospital of Campina Grande, Paraiba, Brazil, from January to December 2009 was done. The cases of accidents with motorcycles accounted for 20.8% of all hospital care, mostly affecting men (85.8%) aged 21-29 years old (33.9%). Legs and feet (55.2%) and arms and hands (26.9%) were the most affected parts of the body. There was significant association between the occurrence of motorcycle accident and injuries on the face (p=0.001), the chest (p<0.001), arms and hands (p=0.004) and legs and feet (p<0.001). Multiple lesions were present in 40.4% of the cases; and the majority (80.6%) involved fractures. Amputation and functional impairment were observed in 15.3% and 4.3% of the victims, respectively. Vascular lesions in the lower limbs had a 3.5 times higher chance of occurrence among injured motorcyclists. Fatal accidents accounted for 1.3% of the injured victims. In conclusion, motorcycle accidents affect men, predominantly, most of them being young, causing fractures and multiple lesions, mainly in the lower limbs. There is need for greater incentive to actions concerning traffic safety education focusing on motorcyclists, as well as greater control by competent authorities as regards to the use of motorcycles in the country.