Originally created 01/31/98

Liver injury linked to mountain bike accidents



LONDON -- The handlebars on some mountain bikes can lead to increased liver injuries after accidents, Austrian researchers reported Friday.

Liver injury is more likely after an accident if grip attatchments are fitted to the handlebars of mountain bikes, according to a report by the University Hospital of Innsbruck published in The Lancet, a British medical journal.

The researchers evaluated 52 patients admitted to the emergency room of their hospital with mountain bike injuries between 1995 and 1997. They found that eight people bled around the liver when their handlbars rammed into the right side of their abdomens.

"The handlebar has been implicated in a wide variety of abdominal injuries, but we noted that all our patients were using bar ends on the bicycle handles," the study said. "We suggest there is a greater risk of liver injuries if handlebars with bar ends are used."

The researchers recommended cyclists use forward-leaning and foam-covered handlebar attachments to cut the risk of liver injury.