Associations with Prehospital Antibiotic Receipt among Combat Casualties with Open Wounds: A Department of Defense Trauma Registry Study

Marissa C. Karp, Michael D. April, Ryan K. Newberry, Steven G. Schauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Current Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines recommend antibiotic administration for all open wounds to prevent infection. We identified associations between demographics, procedures, and medicines with the receipt of prehospital antibiotics among combat casualties. Materials and Methods: We used a series of emergency department procedure codes to identify adult subjects within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry from January 2007 to August 2016 who sustained open wounds. We compared demographics, procedures, and medicines administered among casualties receiving prehospital wound prophylaxis versus casualties not receiving antibiotic prophylaxis. We controlled for confounders with multivariable logistical regression. Results: We identified 18,366 encounters meeting inclusion criteria. Antibiotic recipients (n = 2384) were comparable to nonrecipients (n = 15,982) with regard to age and sex. Antibiotic recipients were more likely to sustain injuries from firearms and undergo all procedures examined related to hemorrhage control, airway management, pneumothorax treatment, and volume replacement except for intraosseous access. Antibiotic recipients were less likely to sustain injuries from explosives. Antibiotic recipients had a modestly higher survival than nonrecipients (97.4% versus 96.0%). Associations with prehospital antibiotic receipt in multivariable logistic regression included non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization military force affiliation (odds ratio (OR) 4.65, 95% CI, 1.0-20.8), tachycardia (OR 3.4, 95% CI, 1.1-10.5), intubation (OR 2.0, 95% CI, 1.1-3.8), and administration of tranexamic acid (OR 5.6, 95% CI, 1.2-26.5). Conclusions: The proportion of combat casualties with open wounds receiving prehospital antibiotics was low despite published recommendations for early antibiotics in patients with open wounds. These findings highlight the ongoing need for additional educational and quality assurance initiatives to continue improving adherence to TCCC guidelines with regard to prehospital antibiotic administration. Future studies are necessary to determine reasons for suboptimal TCCC guideline compliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E606-E611
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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