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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jan 27;366(1562):291-4. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0251.

The epidemiology of blast lung injury during recent military conflicts: a retrospective database review of cases presenting to deployed military hospitals, 2003-2009.

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Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK.


Blast injuries are becoming increasingly common in military conflicts as the nature of combat changes from conventional to asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency. This article describes a retrospective database review of cases from the UK joint theatre trauma registry from 2003 to 2009, containing details of over 3000 patients, mainly injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. During this period, 1678 patients were injured by explosion of whom 113 had evidence of blast lung injury. Of the 50 patients who survived to reach a medical facility, 80 per cent required ventilatory support. Injuries caused by explosion are increasing when compared with those caused by other mechanisms, and blast lung represents a significant clinical problem in a deployed military setting. Management of these patients should be optimized from point of wounding to definitive care.

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