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J Am Coll Surg. 2004 Dec;199(6):875-9.

The special injury pattern in terrorist bombings.

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Department of Surgery B, Rambam Medical Center, Rapaport School of Medicine, Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.



The destructive human consequences of terrorist bombing always challenge the medical system in diagnosis, decision making, and patient management. This injury is produced by multiple injury mechanisms, and departs from the conventional description of trauma complexity. Our objective was to characterize and compare terror-bombing victims with casualties of all other kinds of trauma, and to validate the existence of a different, more complex, injury pattern.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted of patient records from October 2000 through June 2003 in the Israeli National Trauma Registry. All were categorized as victims of terrorist bombings or of nonterror-related trauma. Analysis included age, gender, Injury Severity Score, Glasgow Coma Scale, admission blood pressure, injury complexity, surgical interventions, intensive care and hospital lengths of stay, in-hospital mortality, and disposition. This analysis was extended to Injury Severity Score subgroups.


Victims of terrorist bombings (n = 906) were compared with 55,033 casualties of nonterror-related trauma. Bombing resulted in significantly different injury complexity, increased severity, and with more body regions involved. Significantly enhanced use of intensive care, prolonged hospital stay, more surgical interventions, and increased hospital mortality are characteristic of these patients.


Terrorist bombings inflict injury of a distinctly different pattern than other means of trauma. The simultaneous combination of different injury mechanisms in explosions results in a multidimensional injury pattern and a complicated clinical course. Hospital preparedness and medical team awareness to the unique nature of the injuries are mandatory for improving the outcomes of these patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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