Article

Combat Wounds in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom

U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, USA.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 03/2008; 64(2):295-9. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318163b875
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There have been no large cohort reports detailing the wounding patterns and mechanisms in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Joint Theater Trauma Registry was queried for all US service members receiving treatment for wounds (International Classification of Diseases-9th Rev. codes 800-960) sustained in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom from October 2001 through January 2005. Returned-to-duty and nonbattle injuries were excluded from final analysis.
This query resulted in 3,102 casualties, of which 31% were classified as nonbattle injuries and 18% were returned-to-duty within 72 hours. A total of 1,566 combatants sustained 6,609 combat wounds. The locations of these wounds were as follows: head (8%), eyes (6%), ears (3%), face (10%), neck (3%), thorax (6%), abdomen (11%), and extremity (54%). The proportion of head and neck wounds is higher (p < 0.0001) than the proportion experienced in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam wars (16%-21%). The proportion of thoracic wounds is a decrease (p < 0.0001) from World War II and Vietnam (13%). The proportion of gunshot wounds was 18%, whereas the proportion sustained from explosions was 78%.
The wounding patterns currently seen in Iraq and Afghanistan resemble the patterns from previous conflicts, with some notable exceptions: a greater proportion of head and neck wounds, and a lower proportion of thoracic wounds. An explosive mechanism accounted for 78% of injuries, which is the highest proportion seen in any large-scale conflict.

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