An analysis of casualties presenting to military emergency departments in Iraq and Afghanistan



      During the past 17 years of conflict the deployed US military health care system has found new and innovative ways to reduce combat mortality down to the lowest case fatality rate in US history. There is currently a data dearth of emergency department (ED) care delivered in this setting. We seek to describe ED interventions in this setting.


      We used a series of ED procedure codes to identify subjects within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry from January 2007 to August 2016.


      During this time, 28,222 met inclusion criteria. The median age of causalities in this dataset was 25 years and most (96.9%) were male, US military (41.3%), and part of Operation Enduring Freedom (66.9%). The majority survived to hospital discharge (95.5%). Most subjects sustained injuries by explosives (55.3%) and gunshot wound (GSW). The majority of subjects had an injury severity score that was considered minor (74.1%), while the preponderance of critically injured casualties sustained injuries by explosive (0.7%). Based on AIS, the most frequently seriously injured body region was the extremities (23.9%). The bulk of administered blood products were packed red blood cells (PRBC, 26.4%). Endotracheal intubation was the most commonly performed critical procedure (11.9%). X-ray (79.9%) was the most frequently performed imaging study.


      US military personnel comprised the largest proportion of combat casualties and most were injured by explosive. Within this dataset, ED providers most frequently performed endotracheal intubation, administered blood products, and obtained diagnostic imaging studies.


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