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Incidence and Severity of Head Injury due to E-Bike Accidents Compared to Normal Bicycle Accidents
02 June 2017 (online)
Aims: The incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among injured cyclists with electric bicycles (E-Bike) were analyzed and compared with those using conventional bicycles.
Method: All patients admitted to a level 1 trauma center, who had sustained injuries in a bicycle accident between 2008–2014 were eligible. The primary outcome was the association between incidence and severity (GCS) of TBI, CT-results, necessity of neurosurgical intervention and the type of bicycle (E-Bike and all unmotorized bicycles).
Results: Of 586 patients injured while riding an E-Bike (73) or bicycle (513), 459 (78%) sustained TBI. Helmet use was significantly higher among E-bikers (66%) than the other cyclists (35%) (p < 0.01*). TBI was slightly more prevalent among E-Bike-riders (62; 85%) than among other cyclists (397; 77%) (p = 0.148). Open head trauma was significantly more frequent among E-Bikers (9/73) than other cyclists (37/513) (p = 0.038*). The majority of TBI was mild (GCS 13–15). 21 (29%) E-Bikers and 85 (17%) other cyclists had intracranial hemorrhages (p = 0.01*). Calvarial fractures (E-Bike: 16.4%/ bicycle: 9.8%) and traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (E-Bike: 24.7%/ bicycle: 11.9%) were significantly more common in E-Bike-riders (p = 0.03*/0.02*). A neurosurgical intervention was necessary in 5 (7%) E-Bikers and 25 (5%) of the other cyclists (p = 0.154). Five (7%) E-Bikers and 23 (4%) of the other cyclists had a Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) 1–4 (Death-moderate disability).
Conclusion: Unlike most findings in current literature, and despite significantly greater helmet use, E-Bikers suffered more often from open head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage and had worse outcomes measured by GOS than other cyclists.