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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


The cost of claims for personal injury after whiplash injury costs the economy of the United Kingdom some £3 billion per year. The majority of vehicle occupants subjected to rear-end shunt either suffer no effects or make a complete recovery however a minority suffer adverse psychological and social consequences which may be largely unrelated to the severity of the initial physical insult.

The early psychological reactions include feelings of being shocked, frightened and angry which are related to the victim’s subjective perception of accident severity. During the days after many victims continue to experience anxiety and distress manifest in physical, emotional, cognitive and social complaints – which may be severe enough to constitute the diagnosis of acute stress disorder which has a high risk of subsequent PTSD (Post – Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Ongoing apparently disproportionate disability can take a number of forms but is usually an unconscious process resulting from the interaction of physical, psychological and social variables.

The risk factors for a poor psychological outcome include pre-accident characteristics, the nature of the accident, beliefs favouring chronicity, quality of care along with independent post-accident events and in many cases the effect of litigation.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.