Volume 43, Issue 1 (January 1998)
Seatbelt Injury to the Common Iliac Artery: Case Report
In traffic accident victims, the seat belt syndrome is a well known injury which rarely involves the common iliac artery due to its posterior anatomical position and to protection by the pelvis. We report a case of blunt abdominal trauma related to the type of seat belt worn. The trauma provoked subintimal haemorrhaging of the left common iliac artery, without skeletal lesions or other visceral injuries. Correct diagnosis was delayed for three months after the crash, when an angiogram was performed to investigate disabling claudication and vascular pulse change in the left leg. This arterial injury could have been related to the association of two different types of force created during the crash (“compression/deceleration-type mechanism”) that might have produced shearing forces causing a vascular wall discontinuity and/or an intimal flap. The authors speculate that the vascular lesion was observed on the same (left) side as the fastening point of the seat belt (a lap-and-shoulder belt with a three-point attachment) where the shearing forces may have been most intense due to the junction between the lap strap and the diagonal shoulder belt.