Airway obstruction is the second leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Most airway obstruction occurs secondary to traumatic disruptions of the airway anatomical structures. However, casualties may require airway interventions for other indications (e.g., depressed mental status). We describe casualties undergoing airway intervention in the prehospital, combat setting without apparent upper airway trauma. Materials and Methods: We used a series of emergency department procedure codes to identify patients within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) from January 2007 to August 2016. This is a subgroup analysis of those patients with a documented prehospital airway intervention and no apparent airway trauma as defined by abbreviated injury scale of 0 for body regions 1 (head/neck) and 2 (face). Results: Our predefined search codes captured 28222 DODTR subjects of whom 409 (1.4%) met criteria for study inclusion. Subjects included members of host nation forces (34%) and civilians (30%). Most subjects sustained injuries in Afghanistan (82%). Explosive (57%) and gunshot wounds (36%) were the most frequent mechanisms of injury. Median injury severity scores were 17. The most common anatomical locations of injuries for included subjects included extremities (53%) and thorax (29%). A majority of subjects underwent intubation (89%); comparatively few casualties underwent placement of a nasopharyngeal airway (2%) or supraglottic airway (2%). The proportion of subjects surviving to hospital discharge was 80% and was highest among subjects undergoing intubation (82%). Conclusions: In this subgroup analysis of casualties without apparent upper airway trauma, survival rates were lower when compared to our previous report. Higher quality data are necessary to better understand the resuscitation needs of this critically ill subset of combat casualties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health