Occurrence of Secondary Insults of Traumatic Brain Injury in Patients Transported by Critical Care Air Transport Teams From Iraq/Afghanistan: 2003-2006

United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, 2510 5th Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433, USA.
Military medicine (Impact Factor: 0.77). 01/2013; 178(1):11-7. DOI: 10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00177
Source: PubMed


Traumatic brain injury patients are susceptible to secondary insults to the injured brain. A retrospective cohort study was conducted to describe the occurrence of secondary insults in 63 combat casualties with severe isolated traumatic brain injury who were transported by the U.S. Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATT) from 2003 through 2006. Data were obtained from the Wartime Critical Care Air Transport Database, which describes the patient's physiological state and care as they are transported across the continuum of care from the area of responsibility (Iraq/Afghanistan) to Germany and the United States. Fifty-three percent of the patients had at least one documented episode of a secondary insult. Hyperthermia was the most common secondary insult and was associated with severity of injury. The hyperthermia rate increased across the continuum, which has implications for en route targeted temperature management. Hypoxia occurred most frequently within the area of responsibility, but was rare during CCATT flights, suggesting that concerns for altitude-induced hypoxia may not be a major factor in the decision when to move a patient. Similar research is needed for polytrauma casualties and analysis of the association between physiological status and care across the continuum and long-term outcomes.

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