Emergency department resuscitation of pediatric trauma patients in Iraq and Afghanistan

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Abstract

Background

Military hospital healthcare providers treated children during the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Compared to adults, pediatric patients present unique challenges during trauma resuscitations and have notably been discussed in few research reports. We seek to describe ED interventions performed on pediatric trauma patients in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Methods

We queried the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for all pediatric patients in Iraq and Afghanistan from January 2007 to January 2016. Subjects were grouped based on Centers for Disease Control age categories. We used descriptive statistics.

Results

During this period, there were 3388 pediatric encounters that arrived at the ED with signs of life or on-going interventions. Most subjects were male (77.2%), located in Afghanistan (67.9%), injured by explosive (43.2%), and admitted to an intensive care unit (57.8%). Most of those arriving to the ED alive or with on-going interventions survived to hospital discharge (91.6%). The most frequently encountered age group was 5–9 years (33.3%) followed by 10–14 years (31.5%). The most common interventions were vascular access (86.6%), fluid administration (85.0%), and external warming (44.6%). Intubation was the most frequent airway intervention (18.2%). Packed red blood cells were the most frequently administered blood product (33.8% of subjects).

Conclusions

Pediatric subjects accounted for a notable portion of care delivered in theater emergency departments during the study period. Vascular access and fluid administration were the most frequently performed interventions. Pediatric-specific training is needed as a part of deployment medicine operations.

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