Volume 48, Issue 3 (May 2003)
Diffuse Vascular Injury in Fatal Road Traffic Accident Victims: Its Relationship to Diffuse Axonal Injury
The authors have reported a macro- and microscopic study of brain lesions in 120 victims of fatal road traffic accidents, independent of the survival time. Diffuse vascular injury (DVI) was found in 14 patients (11.7%). All patients with DVI died within 24 h after the accident. The 14 patients with DVI also showed severe (Grade 2 or 3) diffuse axonal injury (DAI). Since DVI is restricted to road traffic accidents and incompatible with life, the high frequency observed in our series could be explained by the fact that all 120 patients were victims of road traffic accidents, and 69.2% had died within 24 h after the accident. The association between DVI and severe DAI (Grades 2 and 3) suggests that both lesions depend on the same mechanism, with the degree of axonal and vascular damage being determined by the intensity of the head acceleration. Our results show a relationship between DVI and DAI that suggest there may be a spectrum or at least a continuum between these entities as distinct from DVI being a separate entity.