Healthcare, Vol. 10, Pages 27: Factors Affecting the Severity of Placental Abruption in Pregnant Vehicle Drivers: Analysis with a Novel Finite Element Model
Healthcare doi: 10.3390/healthcare10010027
We clarified factors affecting the severity of placental abruption in motor vehicle collisions by quantitively analyzing the area of placental abruption in a numerical simulation of an unrestrained pregnant vehicle driver at collision velocities of 3 and 6 m/s. For the simulation, we constructed a novel finite element model of a small 30-week pregnant woman, which was validated anthropometrically using computed tomography data and biomechanically using previous examinations of post-mortem human subjects. In the simulation, stress in the elements of the utero&ndash;placental interface was computed, and those elements exceeding a failure criterion were considered to be abrupted. It was found that a doubling of the collision velocity increased the area of placental abruption 10-fold, and the abruption area was approximately 20% for a collision velocity of 6 m/s, which is lower than the speed limit for general roads. This result implies that even low-speed vehicle collisions have negative maternal and fetal outcomes owing to placental abruption without a seatbelt restraint. Additionally, contact to the abdomen, 30 mm below the umbilicus, led to a larger placental abruption area than contact at the umbilicus level when the placenta was located at the uterus fundus. The results support that a reduction in the collision speed and seatbelt restraint at a suitable position are important to decrease the placental abruption area and therefore protect a pregnant woman and her fetus in a motor vehicle collision.
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