Injury patterns of soldiers in the second Lebanon war


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Abstract

BACKGROUNDIn the second Lebanon war in 2006, the Israeli Defense Forces fought against well-prepared and well-equipped paramilitary forces. The conflict took place near the Israeli border and major Israeli medical centers. Good data records were maintained throughout the campaign, allowing accurate analysis of injury characteristics. This study is an in-depth analysis of injury mechanisms, severity, and anatomic locations.METHODSData regarding all injured soldiers were collected from all care points up to the definitive care hospitals and were cross-referenced. In addition, trauma branch physicians and nurses interviewed medical teams to validate data accuracy. Injuries were analyzed using Injury Severity Score (ISS) (when precise anatomic data were available) and multiple injury patterns scoring for all.RESULTSA total of 833 soldiers sustained combat-related injury during the study period, including 119 fatalities (14.3%). Although most soldiers (361) sustained injury only to one Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) region, the average number of regions per soldier was 2.0 but was 1.5 for survivors versus 4.2 for fatalities.CONCLUSIONCurrent war injury classifications have limitations that hinder valid comparisons between campaigns and settings. In addition, limitation on full autopsy in war fatalities further hinders data use. To partly compensate for those limitations, we have looked at the correlation between fatality rates and number of involved anatomic regions and found it to be strong. We have also found high fatality rates in some “combined” injuries such as head and chest injuries (71%) or in the abdomen and an extremity (75%). The use of multiinjury patterns analysis may help understand fatality rates and improve the utility of war injury analysis.LEVEL OF EVIDENCEEpidemiologic study, level III.

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