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Journal Article


Klask J. Laryngorhinootologie 2001; 80(3): 146-151.

Vernacular Title

Verletzungen im Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Bereich durch Auto-Airbags.


Universitats-Hals-Nasen-Ohrenklinik Essen.


(Copyright © 2001, Georg Thieme Verlag)






BACKGROUND: Airbags are successful in avoiding or in reducing serious injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents. On the other hand airbag deployment has led to a new kind of injuries. Only a few publications about that item exist. The experiences made with two patients after airbag deployment are described. The relevant literature is discussed. PATIENTS: Two patients after airbag injuries were examined. The face of the first patient hit a regularly expanding airbag. Afterwards his nose was obviously deformed. In the other case both front airbags of a car burst triggered by a frontal crash. The symptoms of this patient were painful itching skinlesions in his face, unilateral hearing loss and tinnitus. RESULTS: The first described patient had a clinical and radiological provable fracture of his nasal bone with a frontal impression. The facial skin of the other patient was etched by the filling gas of the airbags. He was also suffering from an acoustic trauma. These cases are compared to other cases found in the literature. CONCLUSIONS: Oto-rhino-laryngological injuries can be caused by airbag deployment, especially by bursting airbags. Beside of outward injuries like dermatological hurts and fractures of the facial skeleton also more serious and life-threatening traumata can occur with damage of the cervical spine and upper airway. Moreover otologic handicaps like temporary or permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, otalgia and tympanic membrane perforations are possible consequences.


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