A Retrospective Analysis of Combat Injury Patterns and Prehospital Interventions Associated with the Development of Sepsis

Brandon M. Carius, Grace E. Bebarta, Michael D. April, Andrew D. Fisher, Julie Rizzo, Patrick Ketter, Joseph C. Wenke, Jose Salinas, Vikhyat S. Bebarta, Steven G. Schauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Combat injury related wound infections are common. Untreated, these wound infections may progress to sepsis and septic shock leading to increased morbidity and mortality rates. Understanding infectious complications, patterns, progression, and correlated prehospital interventions are vital to understand the development of sepsis. We aim to analyze demographics, injury patterns, and interventions associated with sepsis in battlefield settings. Materials and Methods: This is a secondary analysis of previously published data from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DoDTR) from 2007 to 2020. We searched for casualties diagnosed with sepsis (excluding line-sepsis) throughout their initial hospitalization. Regression models were used to seek associations. Results: Our initial request yielded 28,950 encounters, of which 25,654 (88.6%) were adults that met inclusion, including 243 patients (0.9%) diagnosed with sepsis. Patients included US military (34%), non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military (33%) and humanitarian (30%) groups. Patients diagnosed with sepsis had a significantly lower survival rate than non-septic patients (78.1% vs. 95.7%, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in administration of prehospital antibiotics between septic and the general populations (10.6% vs. 12.3%, p = 0.395). Prehospital intraosseous access (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.27-1.91, p = 0.207) and packed red cell administration (1.63, 1.24-2.15, 0.029) were the interventions most associated with sepsis. Conclusions: Sepsis occurred infrequently in the DoDTR when evacuation from battlefield is not delayed, but despite increased intervention frequency, developing sepsis demonstrates a significant drop in survival rates. Future research would benefit from the development of risk mitigation measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Emergency Medicine


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