Characterization of Extremity Wounds in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom

US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, TX, USA.
Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma (Impact Factor: 1.8). 05/2007; 21(4):254-7. DOI: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31802f78fb
Source: PubMed


Extremity wounds and fractures traditionally comprise the majority of traumatic injuries in US armed conflicts. Little has been published regarding the extremity wounding patterns and fracture distribution in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The intent of this study was to describe the distribution of extremity fractures during this current conflict.
Descriptive epidemiologic study.
The Joint Theater Trauma Registry was queried for all US service members receiving treatment for wounds (ICD-9 codes 800-960) sustained in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from October 2001 through January 2005. Returned-to-duty and nonbattle injuries were excluded. Wounds were classified according to region and type. Extremity wounds were analyzed in detail and compared to published results from previous conflicts.
A total of 1281 soldiers sustained 3575 extremity combat wounds. Fifty-three percent of these were penetrating soft-tissue wounds and 26% were fractures. Of the 915 fractures, 758 (82%) were open fractures. The 915 fractures were evenly distributed between the upper (461, 50%) and lower extremities (454, 50%). The most common fracture in the upper extremity was in the hand (36%) and in the lower extremity was the tibia and fibula (48%). Explosive munitions accounted for 75% of the mechanisms of injury.
The burden of wounds sustained in OIF/OEF is extremity injuries, specifically soft-tissue wounds and fractures. These results are similar to the reported casualties from previous wars.

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    • "The burden of musculoskeletal injuries and, in particular, amputations is well documented [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. In spite of this, there is a relative lack of reporting on the course of those patients that undergo amputation at or after 90 days from their original injury [6] [7] [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Following severe lower extremity trauma, patients who undergo limb reconstruction and amputations both endure frequent complications and mental health sequelae. The purpose of this study is to assess the extent to which late amputation following a period of limb salvage impacts the evolution of the clinical variables that can affect the patient's perception of his or her limb: ongoing limb associated complications and mental health conditions. A case series of US service members who sustained a late major extremity amputation from September 2001 through July 2011 were analysed. Pre- and post-amputation complications, mental health conditions, and reason(s) for desiring amputation were recorded. Forty-four amputees with detailed demographic, injury and treatment data were identified. The most common reasons for desiring a late amputation were pain and being dissatisfied with the function of the salvage limb. An average of 3.2 (range 1-10) complications were reported per amputee prior to undergoing late amputation and an average of 1.8 (range 0-5) complications reported afterwards. The most common complication prior to and after late amputation was soft tissue infection (24 (17%) and 9 (22%), respectively). Twenty-nine (64%) late amputees were diagnosed with a mental health condition prior to undergoing their amputation and 27 (61%) late amputees were diagnosed with mental conditions after late amputation. Only three of the 15 patients who did not have a mental health condition documented prior to their late amputation remained free of a documented mental health condition after the amputation. Ongoing complications and mental health conditions can affect how a patient perceives and copes with his or her limb following severe trauma. Patient dissatisfaction following limb reconstruction can influence the decision to undergo a late amputation. Patients with a severe, combat related lower extremity injury that are undergoing limb salvage may not have a reduction in their overall complication rate, a resolution of specific complications or an improvement of their mental health after undergoing late amputation. Surgeons caring for limb salvage patients should counsel appropriately when managing expectations for a patient who desires a late amputation. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Injury
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    • "Just as in the wars of the last century, injuries sustained in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan more commonly involve the limbs than any other anatomical region [1]. Approximately 25% of extremity wounds from these conflicts were open fractures [2], with only around 3% being open tibia fractures [3]. Open tibia fractures produced by military weapons are characterised by severe soft tissue loss and heavy contamination "
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    ABSTRACT: Extremity injuries define the surgical burden of recent conflicts. Current literature is inconclusive when assessing the merits of limb salvage over amputation. The aim of this study was to determine medium term functional outcomes in military casualties undergoing limb salvage for severe open tibia fractures, and compare them to equivalent outcomes for unilateral trans-tibial amputees. Cases of severe open diaphyseal tibia fractures sustained in combat between 2006 and 2010, as described in a previously published series, were contacted. Consenting individuals conducted a brief telephone interview and were asked to complete a SF-36 questionnaire. These results were compared to a similar cohort of 18 military patients who sustained a unilateral trans-tibial amputation between 2004 and 2010. Forty-nine patients with 57 severe open tibia fractures met the inclusion criteria. Telephone follow-up and SF-36 questionnaire data was available for 30 patients (61%). The median follow-up was 4 years (49 months, IQR 39-63). Ten of the 30 patients required revision surgery, three of which involved conversion from initial fixation to a circular frame for non- or mal-union. Twenty-two of the 30 patients (73%) recovered sufficiently to complete an age-standardised basic military fitness test. The median physical component score of SF-36 in the limb salvage group was 46 (IQR 35-54) which was similar to the trans-tibial amputation cohort (p=0.3057, Mann-Whitney). Similarly there was no difference in mental component scores between the limb salvage and amputation groups (p=0.1595, Mann-Whitney). There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients in either the amputation or limb salvage group reporting pain (p=0.1157, Fisher's exact test) or with respect to SF-36 physical pain scores (p=0.5258, Mann-Whitney). This study demonstrates that medium term outcomes for military patients are similar following trans-tibial amputation or limb salvage following combat trauma.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Injury
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    • "Wounds sustained in modern military conflicts predominantly affect the extremities [1]. The preponderance of extremity wounds has been exacerbated by several factors specific to the current conflicts. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This study aims to characterise the injuries and surgical management of British servicemen sustaining bilateral lower limb amputations. Methods The UK Military Trauma Registry was searched for all cases of primary bilateral lower limb amputation sustained between March 2004 and March 2010. Amputations were excluded if they occurred more than 7 days after injury or if they were at the ankle or more distal. Results There were 1694 UK military patients injured or killed during this six-year study period. Forty-three of these (2.8%) were casualties with bilateral lower limb amputations. All casualties were men with a mean age of 25.1 years (SD 4.3): all were injured in Afghanistan by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Six casualties were in vehicles when they were injured with the remaining 37 (80%) patrolling on foot. The mean New Injury Severity Score (NISS) was 48.2 (SD 13.2): four patients had a maximum score of 75. The mean TRISS probability of survival was 60% (SD 39.4), with 18 having a survival probability of less than 50% i.e. unexpected survivors. The most common amputation pattern was bilateral trans-femoral (TF) amputations, which was seen in 25 patients (58%). Nine patients also lost an upper limb (triple amputation): no patients survived loss of all four limbs. In retained upper limbs extensive injuries to the hands and forearms were common, including loss of digits. Six patients (14%) sustained an open pelvic fracture. Perineal/genital injury was a feature in 19 (44%) patients, ranging from unilateral orchidectomy to loss of genitalia and permanent requirement for colostomy and urostomy. The mean requirement for blood products was 66 units (SD = 41.7). The maximum transfusion was 12 units of platelets, 94 packed red cells, 8 cryoprecipitate, 76 units of fresh frozen plasma and 3 units of fresh whole blood, a total of 193 units of blood products. Conclusions Our findings detail the severe nature of these injuries together with the massive surgical and resuscitative efforts required to firstly keep patients alive and secondly reconstruct and prepare them for rehabilitation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Injury
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