A Retrospective Cohort Study of Burn Casualties Transported by the US Army Burn Flight Team and US Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Teams

Shelia C. Savell, Jeff T. Howard, Christopher A. VanFosson, Kimberly L. Medellín, Amanda M. Staudt, Julie A. Rizzo, Joseph K. Maddry, Leopoldo C. Cancio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The US Army Burn Center, the only burn center in the Department of Defense provides comprehensive burn care. The Burn Flight Team (BFT) provides specialized burn care during transcontinental evacuation. During Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, burn injuries accounted for approximately 5% of all injuries in military personnel. To augment BFT capacity, US Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATTs) mobilized to transport burn patients. The purpose of this study was to describe critically ill, burn injured patients transported to the US Army Burn Center by BFT or CCATT, to compare and contrast characteristics, evacuation procedures, in-flight treatments, patient injuries/illnesses, and outcomes between the two groups. Materials and Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of CCATT and BFT patients, admitted to the burn ICU between January 1, 2001 and September 30, 2018. Patients with total body surface area burned (TBSA) >30% were evacuated by BFT, while CCATT evacuated patients with ≤ 30% TBSA. Results: Ninety-seven patients met inclusion criteria for this study. Of these, 40 (41%) were transported by the BFT and 57 (59%) were transported by CCATTs. Compared with patients transported by CCATTs, patients transferred by the BFT had higher median TBSA and full-thickness burn size, higher prevalence of chest, back and groin burns, and higher prevalence of inhalation injury. BFT patients had increased hospital days (62 vs. 37; P = .08), ICU days (29 vs. 12; P = .003) and ventilator days (14 vs. 6; P < .001). TBSA was the only variable significantly associated with ARDS (aOR = 1.04; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.08; P = 0.04), renal failure (aOR = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.11; P = .002), and mortality (aOR = 1.08; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.13; P = .001). Conclusions: Evacuation by the BFT was associated with increased ICU and ventilator days, increased mortality, and a greater risk for developing renal failure. The severity of injury/TBSA likely accounted for most of these differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-819
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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