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J Trauma. 2003 May;54(5 Suppl):S13-9.

A profile of combat injury.

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1
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. hrchampion@aol.com

Abstract

Traumatic combat injuries differ from those encountered in the civilian setting in terms of epidemiology, mechanism of wounding, pathophysiologic trajectory after injury, and outcome. Except for a few notable exceptions, data sources for combat injuries have historically been inadequate. Although the pathophysiologic process of dying is the same (i.e., dominated by exsanguination and central nervous system injury) in both the civilian and military arenas, combat trauma has unique considerations with regard to acute resuscitation, including (1) the high energy and high lethality of wounding agents; (2) multiple causes of wounding; (3) preponderance of penetrating injury; (4) persistence of threat in tactical settings; (5) austere, resource-constrained environment; and (5) delayed access to definitive care. Recognition of these differences can help bring focus to resuscitation research for combat settings and can serve to foster greater civilian-military collaboration in both basic and transitional research.

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