Finite Element Model Prediction of Pulmonary Contusion in Vehicle-to-Vehicle Simulations of Real-World Crashes
Objective: Pulmonary contusion (PC) is a common chest injury following motor vehicle crash (MVC). Because this injury has an inflammatory component, studying PC in living subjects is essential. Medical and vehicle data from the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) database were utilized to examine pulmonary contusion in case occupants with known crash parameters.
Method: The selected CIREN cases were simulated with vehicle finite element models (FEMs) with the Total HUman Model for Safety (THUMS) version 4 as the occupant. To match the CIREN crash parameters, vehicle simulations were iteratively improved to optimize maximum crush location and depth. Fifteen cases were successfully modeled with the simulated maximum crush matching the CIREN crush to within 10%. Following the simulations, stress and strain metrics for the elements within the lungs were calculated. These injury metrics were compared to patient imaging data to determine the best finite element predictor of pulmonary contusion.
Results: When the thresholds were evaluated using volumetric criteria, first principal strain was the metric with the least variation in the FEM prediction of PC.
Conclusions: A preliminary threshold for maximum crush was calculated to predict a clinically significant volume of pulmonary contusion.