Chest and Abdominal Injuries Caused By Seat Belt Wearing

J. L. Greingor, MD; S. Lazarus, MD


South Med J. 2006;99(4):534-535. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The authors report an original case of seat belt syndrome. Sternal fractures are common in patients with seat belt injuries. Its association with blunt bowel trauma is rarely related in the literature. Distracted injury has contributed to delay the diagnosis of intestine injury. The presence of a seat belt sign must lead to the consideration of occult injuries especially abdominal. Close observation and serial examination should be the rule.


Seat belt use has been mandatory in France since 1973 for front seat passengers, and since 1990 for the rear seat. This compulsory measure has contributed to a decrease in the risk of injuries in road traffic collisions.[1] However, during the last 30 years, several publications have examined injuries resulting from seat belt use. This restraint system is associated with a specific pattern of injuries such as sternal fracture, bowel trauma[2] or lumbar spine injuries,[3] which has been categorized as seat belt syndrome.

We report a case associating sternal fracture with blunt bowel trauma related to seat belt use which, to our knowledge, has not been described previously.


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