Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better battlefield triage, transport may raise severely wounded soldiers' survival rates

Date:
October 4, 2012
Source:
American College of Surgeons
Summary:
Wounded soldiers who sustained chest injuries in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom had higher mortality rates than soldiers in Korea and Vietnam, but improved battlefield triage and transport may have meant that severely wounded soldiers whom would have been considered killed in action in previous conflicts are more likely to get sent to trauma centers in the United States sooner in their course of care.

Wounded soldiers who sustained chest injuries in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq) had higher mortality rates than soldiers in Korea and Vietnam, according to a military trauma study presented at the 2012 American College of Surgeons Annual Clinical Congress. However, better battlefield triage and transport may have meant that severely wounded soldiers whom would have been considered killed in action in previous conflicts are more likely to get sent to trauma centers in the United States sooner in their course of care, study authors explained.

Trauma surgeons from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in Fort Sam Houston, TX, compared mortality rates from chest injuries in conflicts dating back to the Civil War, when 63 percent of such injuries resulted in death compared with 10 percent in World War II, 2 percent in Korea and 3 percent in Vietnam. The rate of mortality from chest injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan was 8.3 percent. The researchers focused on injuries of the thorax, the part of the body between the neck and the abdomen that harbors the heart and lungs; and analyzed data from the Joint Trauma Theater Registry for U.S. soldiers who sustained a chest injury in Iraq and Afghanistan from January 2003 to May 2011. The analysis did not include soldiers killed in action.

"We feel that these findings are likely a reflection of our ability to get more severely injured soldiers--whom otherwise may have died on the battlefield--to a medical facility," said Capt. Katherine M. Ivey, MD, a resident in general surgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center and presenter of the study. "We have the capability now of moving sicker patients from theater to the United States that we didn't have before."

One observation from analyzing study results that may be applicable in civilian trauma care involved how medics and field surgeons approached chest wounds. "We have found that most penetrating fragmentation injuries of the thorax are managed solely with a tube thoracostomy, or a chest tube, as opposed to an actual thoracotomy, or opening of the chest," Dr. Ivey said.

The surgeons further concluded that advances in prehospital care, rapid transport and protective equipment for combat personnel may have resulted in more severely injured patients arriving alive at a field hospital or other medical facility, which contributed to increased mor-tality after admission.

While the study did not analyze specific transport factors that contributed to improved survivability of battlefield wounded, Dr. Ivey noted that the use of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft have long played a role in evacuating battlefield wounded. However, with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the military has acquired the ability to move wounded patients to higher-level care centers in the United States "within days or weeks of injury as opposed to weeks or months," Dr. Ivey said. "Just as an observer working in the medical field in the military, it's amazing how quickly we're getting these soldiers back home."

Of 2,049 chest injuries analyzed in the two conflicts, 70 percent occurred in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most chest injuries were caused by penetrating trauma (61.5 percent) followed by blunt trauma (26.7 percent) and blast injuries (11.6 percent). The most common thoracic injuries were collapsed lung, pulmonary contusions and rib fractures. In all, 1,412 operations were performed at combat support hospitals, which provide a range of surgical and medical specialties and have intensive-care units. The researchers did not analyze why more chest injuries occurred in Iraq, Dr. Ivey explained.

Other researchers who participated in the study were Christopher E. White, MD, FACS; Timothy E. Wallum, MS; Jeremy W. Cannon, MD, FACS; Kevin K. Chung, MD, FACP; Jeffrey D. McNeil, MD; Stephen M. Cohn, MD, FACS; and Lorne H. Blackbourne, MD, FACS.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Surgeons. "Better battlefield triage, transport may raise severely wounded soldiers' survival rates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004134835.htm>.
American College of Surgeons. (2012, October 4). Better battlefield triage, transport may raise severely wounded soldiers' survival rates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004134835.htm
American College of Surgeons. "Better battlefield triage, transport may raise severely wounded soldiers' survival rates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004134835.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins