Original Research Article| Volume 224, ISSUE 6, P1393-1397, December 2022

Improving blunt cerebrovascular injury screening in motor vehicle collision patients: Does airbag deployment matter?

Published:October 16, 2022DOI:


      • Airbag deployment is associated with the development of blunt cerebrovascular injuries.
      • Airbag deployment is protective against cervical spine injuries.
      • Screening for BCVI in patients with airbag deployment may reduce missed injuries.



      Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) can cause blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI). Exploring MVC characteristics that increase BCVI may reduce missed injuries. This study aims to evaluate the association between airbag deployment and BCVI.


      We analyzed the 2016-Trauma Quality Improvement Database including adult MVC drivers. Patients were stratified: airbag deployment(A+) and no-airbag deployment(A-). Outcomes were BCVI, and cervical spine injuries (CSI).


      A total of 122,973 patients were identified: A+: 106,492, and A-: 16,481. The incidence of BCVI was 1907 (1.6%): and CSI was 20,711 (16.8%). A+ patients had a higher rate of BCVI (1.6% vs. 1.1%; p < 0.001), but a lower rate of CSI (16.2% vs. 21.4%; p < 0.001). On regression analysis, A+ was associated with BCVI (1.419[1.184–1.701]; p < 0.001) but was protective for CSI (0.767[0.672–0.878]; p < 0.001).


      A+ may be an unrecognized risk factor for BCVI even for patients without a CSI. Expanding BCVI screening criteria to include A+ may reduce missed injuries.

      Level of evidence

      Level III, prognostic.


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