Background Every year, 1.3 million people are killed and up to 50 million are injured in road traffic accidents worldwide. The burden of road traffic injury has shifted from the premature death to a reduced quality of life (QoL) for those injured, therefore it is important to understand the effect of road traffic injury (RTI) on QoL. We aimed to assess and conclude the current knowledge about the relationship between RTI and QoL.
Methods A systematic review of the literature on QoL after an RTI, in both adults and paediatric populations, from 3 databases (Pubmed, PsychInfo and SafetyLit) over the last fourteen years was undertaken. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed according to the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale.
Results Nineteen articles were included and assessed for quality. In general, the QoL scores of those injured were similar to population norms at the first assessment, followed by a drop from the first assessment to the second assessment. The majority of the participants reported an increase of QoL from the second assessment to the third assessment but they never reached the population norms at the last follow-up (range 6 weeks to 2 years). Age, gender, socioeconomic status, injury severity, injury type, and PTSD were associated with poorer QoL.
Conclusions The available literature regarding the QoL of persons injured in road traffic accidents is heterogeneous in regards to aims and tools used for assessment. Our review confirmed that independent of how QoL was measured, the overall QoL is significantly reduced after an RTI compared to the general population norms. Persons who are older, of female gender, lower socioeconomic status, diagnosed with PTSD, with more severe injuries or injuries to the lower limbs are more vulnerable to loss of QoL following an RTI compared to other patient groups injured in road traffic accidents.
- Road traffic injury
- Quality of life
- Health related Quality of life
- Systematic review
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