Public Release: 

CT imaging can play important role in car crash testing

American College of Radiology

Crash test injuries analyzed with CT imaging provide valuable data that can help engineers develop safer cars and reduce the severity of injuries during car accidents, according to a new study by researchers from The Ohio State University in Columbus.

For the study, two human cadavers were hit with a device that simulates a blunt impact equivalent to car collisions. CT imaging of the rib cages of the cadavers was performed to evaluate the damage caused by the impact. "We found that injuries to the rib cage caused by the simulated car collision could be identified on the CT scans and that the CT results correlated with the usual, more involved methods of body damage analysis, which makes use of high speed videos and data from sensors attached to more than 30 locations on the body during the impact," said Steffen Sammet, MD, PhD, lead author of the study.

"The study was initiated by a project from the Department of Transportation to enable objective, noninvasive measures of crash impacts. The knowledge gained from those tests goes directly into automotive engineering to prevent those disabling injuries or death," said Dr. Sammet.

In addition to saving lives through the design of safer cars, the researchers foresee other possible uses for the data gathered from CT imaging of crash tests. "A direct further outcome of this research is understanding how imaging findings correlate to the force of impact, which can further improve our ability to provide better diagnosis as well as help in the understanding of forensic aspects of car crashes," said Dr. Sammet.

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The full results of this study will be presented as an electronic exhibit Monday, May 7 through Thursday May 10 during the American Roentgen Ray Society's annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

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