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Handb Clin Neurol. 2015;127:173-80. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52892-6.00011-8.

Brain injury from explosive blast: description and clinical management.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address: geoffrey.ling@usuhs.edu.
2
Department of Neurosciences, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, VA, USA.
3
Department of Neurology, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA; Integrated Services Group Inc., Potomac, MD, USA.

Abstract

Accumulating clinical experience is indicating that explosive blast brain injury is becoming recognized as a disease distinct from the penetrating form of blast injury as well as the classic closed head injury (CHI). In recent US conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 60% of combat casualties were from explosive blast with the hallmark explosive weapon being the improvised explosive device (IED). Explosive blast TBI is a condition afflicting many combat injured warfighters potentially constituting another category of TBI. Clinically, it shares many features with conventional TBI but possesses some unique aspects. In its mild form, it also shares many clinical features with PTSD but here again has distinct aspects. Although military medical providers depend on civilian standard of care guidelines when managing explosive blast mTBI, they are continually adapting their medical practice in order to optimize the treatment of this disease, particularly in a theater of war. It is clear that further rigorous scientific study of explosive blast mTBI at both the basic science and clinical levels is needed. This research must include improved understanding of the causes and mechanisms of explosive blast TBI as well as comprehensive epidemiologic studies to determine the prevalence of this disease and its risk factors. A widely accepted unambiguous clinical description of explosive blast mTBI with diagnostic criteria would greatly improve diagnosis. It is hoped that through appropriate research meaningful prevention, mitigation, and treatment strategies for explosive blast mTBI can be speedily realized.

KEYWORDS:

Explosive blast; PTSD; clinical management; concussive injury; head impact; mTBI

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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