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February 1968

Seat Belt Injuries

Author Affiliations

Iowa City
From Department of Surgery, University Hospitals, Iowa City.

Arch Surg. 1968;96(2):242-246. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330200080014

WITH increasing automobile accidents and the general use of seat belts, injuries related to wearing the seat belt are occasionally seen. If this type injury is considered at the time of initial examination of an injured patient, early diagnosis may prevent prolonged morbidity and even mortality. This is especially true in the case of small bowel injury which may not manifest definite clinical signs for many hours or sometimes days.

Various types of abdominal injuries have been reported. These have included splenic1 and hepatic ruptures,2 pancreatic lacerations, rupture of the abdominal aorta, laceration of large and small bowels,3,4 and fractures of the lumbar spine.5 The patients presented demonstrate some of these injuries.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.  —A 21-year-old man experienced a head-on collision on Oct 25, 1965. He was wearing a lap-type seat belt. He was taken immediately to the hospital and presented in the