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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Car Occupants More Likely Than Pedestrians to Have Heart Failure or Stroke After Collision

Being an occupant in an automobile during a motor vehicle accident may lead to greater risk of heart failure or stroke, as compared to pedestrians who are involved in motor vehicle accidents, according to a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and School of Medicine (MED) researchers.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that, among older adults, the risk of heart failure 180 days after a crash was 48 percent higher for motor vehicle occupants than pedestrians, and the risk of stroke was almost three times greater for vehicle occupants than pedestrians.

“If this relationship holds true, we may be able to prevent occurrences of heart failure and stroke by screening older patients involved in motor vehicle crashes, particularly among those without a history of cardiovascular diseases,” says study lead author Dr. Bindu Kalesan, assistant professor of community health sciences at BUSPH and of preventive medicine & epidemiology at MED.

Using U.S. hospitalization data from 2013 and 2014, Dr. Kalesan and her colleagues compared people over 65 years old who were in a motor vehicle crash as a vehicle occupant with those who were hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian. Then they assessed whether vehicle occupants and pedestrians were re-hospitalized for heart failure or stroke in the six months after they were discharged.

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