Airbag-Related Chest Wall Burn as a Marker of Underlying Injury: A Case Report

This article presents the medical case report of a man who sustained an airbag-induced thoracic injury and burn, highlighting the potential harm that can be caused by airbags. The authors emphasize that a surface burn which looks small and benign can actually be a surface marker of a more serious injury. The case patient was a 65-year-old man who was the seatbelted driver in a frontal collision. The airbag was activated and caused a superficial chest wall burn. Initial chest x-rays were unremarkable but following deterioration in his condition, a computed tomography scan revealed a serious sternal fracture. The location of the fracture was marked on the surface by the burn. The authors conclude that surface burns at the point of impact should not be dismissed as trivial as the forces involved can cause significant injury. Emergency medical personnel are encouraged to be aware of this risk of possible airbag injuries. The authors recommend that all people with chest wall injuries and/or burns due to airbags should have more detailed chest imaging as initial emergency radiographs can be falsely reassuring.

  • Authors:
    • Monkhouse, Simon J
    • Kelly, Michael D
  • Publication Date: 2008-3-24


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos; References;
  • Pagination: 3p
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01108933
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 22 2008 8:42AM