Association of injury pattern and entrapment location inside damaged buildings in the 2016 Taiwan earthquake

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Background/Purpose: To explore the association of patient injury patterns and entrapped locations inside damaged buildings in the 2016 Taiwan earthquake. Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted using the Tainan incident registry system. Residents inside nine conjunctive, 16-story (49.3 m in height) reinforced concrete buildings were categorized as non-injured, injured, and dead. Residents were classified into different groups according to their entrapped locations in height and the severity of building damage. The field triage acuity and trauma severity among groups were compared. Statistical significance was set at the level of 0.05. Results: There were 309 enrollees with 76 (24.6%) non-injured, 118 (38.2%) injured, and 115 (37.2%) dead. Residents either in the high floors (odds ratio [OR] = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.5–5.8, p = 0.003) or in the collapsed buildings (OR = 18.2, 95% CI: 7.6–43.6, p < 0.001) were more likely to be dead. Injured patients who were located in the high floors were more likely to have severe field triage acuities (adjusted OR = 14.7, 95% CI: 1.8–118.0, p = 0.012); intracranial hemorrhage (12.5%), intrathoracic injury (18.8%), or intra-abdominal damage (12.5%) (All p < 0.05); the need for emergency surgical intervention (31.3%, p = 0.035); and major trauma (18.8%, p = 0.001). Residents in the collapsed buildings were more likely to have a crush injury (80.0%, p < 0.001) or crush syndrome (80.0%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: People entrapped at different heights of floors or in differently damaged buildings could have a distinct pattern of injury. Our findings may facilitate strategic approaches of patients entrapped in damaged buildings and may contribute to future training for field searches and rescues after earthquakes.




Pan, S. T., Cheng, Y. Y., Wu, C. L., Chang, R. H., Chiu, C., Foo, N. P., … Lin, C. H. (2019). Association of injury pattern and entrapment location inside damaged buildings in the 2016 Taiwan earthquake. Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, 118(1P2), 311–323.

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