Terrorism-related injuries versus road traffic accident-related trauma: 5 years of experience in Israel

Kobi Peleg*, Bella Savitsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Terrorism victims comprise the minority among trauma injured people, but this small population imposes a burden on the health care system. Thirty percent of the population injured in terrorist activities experienced severe trauma (injury severity score ≥16), more than half of them need a surgical procedure, and 25% of the population affected by terrorism had been admitted to intensive care. Furthermore, compared with patients with non-terrorism-related trauma, victims of terrorism often arrive in bulk, as part of a mass casualty event. This poses a sudden load on hospital resources and requires special organization and preparedness. The present study compared terrorism-related and road accident-related injuries and examined clinical characteristics of both groups of patients. Methods: This study is a retrospective study of all patients injured through terrorist acts and road traffic accidents from September 29, 2000 to December 31, 2005, and recorded in the Israel Trauma Registry. Data on the nature of injuries, treatment, and outcome were obtained from the registry. Medical diagnoses were extracted from the registry and classified based on International Classification of Diseases coding. Diagnoses were grouped to body regions, based on the Barell Injury Diagnosis Matrix. Results: The study includes 2197 patients with terrorism-related injuries and 30,176 patients injured in road traffic accidents. All in all, 27% of terrorism-related casualties suffered severe to critical injuries, comparing to 17% among road traffic accident-related victims. Glasgow Coma Scale scores ≤8, measured in the emergency department, were among 12.3% of terrorism victims, in contrast with 7.4% among people injured on the roads. The terrorism victims had a significantly higher rate of use of intensive care facilities (24.2% vs 12.4%). The overall inpatient death rate was 6.0% among terrorism victims and 2.4% among those injured in road traffic accidents. Conclusions: Casualties from terrorist events are more severely injured and require more resources relative to casualties from road traffic accidents. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2009;3:196-200)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-200
Number of pages5
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Intensive care unit
  • Mass casualty Event
  • Mortality
  • Road traffic accident
  • Terrorism
  • Trauma injuries


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