Echelons of Care and the Management of Wartime Vascular Injury: A Report From the 332nd EMDG/Air Force Theater Hospital, Balad Air Base, Iraq

Todd E. Rasmussen, W. Darrin Clouse, Donald H. Jenkins, Michael A. Peck, Jonathan L. Eliason, David L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this report is to provide a contemporary in-theater account on the systematic management of wartime vascular injury. Included are strategies at each echelon of care that affect the treatment of these injuries. In addition, the aim of this report is to present a modern wartime vascular registry describing rates and distribution of injury in what is now a mature military conflict. A 15-month review (September 1, 2004 through December 1, 2005) from the central level III echelon facility in Iraq (332nd EMDG/Air Force Theater Hospital) presented by the in-theater Consultants for Vascular Surgery. During this period 13 460 casualties were treated at or evacuated through our location, 3096 (23%) with battle-related injuries. Vascular injuries comprised 6.6% (N = 209) of battle-related trauma in the following distribution: extremity 79% (n = 166), neck 13% (n = 27), thoracoabdominal 8% (n = 16). Three levels (formerly echelons) of care are active in theater each with strategies that affect vascular injury management: Level 1: use of commercial tourniquets; level 2: use of temporary vascular shunts as damage control adjuncts; and level 3: definitive repair of arterial and venous injuries in theater using autologous vein. Evacuation patterns and the position of the Air Force Theater Hospital have allowed the formation of a contemporary wartime vascular registry. The rate of vascular injury appears increased compared to that of Vietnam with extremity injuries most prevalent. Effective strategies are in place at each of 3 levels of care that affect the management of vascular injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalPerspectives in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • battle-related injury
  • vascular injury
  • vascular registry
  • war injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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