High risk and low prevalence diseases: Blast injuries

Josh Bukowski, Craig D. Nowadly, Steven G. Schauer, Alex Koyfman, Brit Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Blast injury is a unique condition that carries a high rate of morbidity and mortality, often with mixed penetrating and blunt injuries. Objective: This review highlights the pearls and pitfalls of blast injuries, including presentation, diagnosis, and management in the emergency department (ED) based on current evidence. Discussion: Explosions may impact multiple organ systems through several mechanisms. Patients with suspected blast injury and multisystem trauma require a systematic evaluation and resuscitation, as well as investigation for injuries specific to blast injuries. Blast injuries most commonly affect air-filled organs but can also result in severe cardiac and brain injury. Understanding blast injury patterns and presentations is essential to avoid misdiagnosis and balance treatment of competing interests of patients with polytrauma. Management of blast victims can also be further complicated by burns, crush injury, resource limitation, and wound infection. Given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with blast injury, identification of various injury patterns and appropriate management are essential. Conclusions: An understanding of blast injuries can assist emergency clinicians in diagnosing and managing this potentially deadly disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Blast injury
  • Combat
  • Explosion
  • IED
  • Improvised explosive device
  • Military
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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