Thoracic trauma in military settings: a review of current practices and recommendations


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewTo examine current literature on thoracic trauma related to military combat and to explore its relevance to the civilian population.Recent findingsDamage control resuscitation (DCR) has improved the management of hemorrhaging trauma patients. Permissive hypotension below 110 mmHg and antifibrinolytic use during DCR is widely accepted, whereas the use of freeze-dried plasma and whole blood is gaining popularity. The Modified Physiologic Triaging Tool can be used for primary triage and it may have applications in civilian trauma systems. Although Tactical Combat Casualty Care protocol recommends the Cric-Key device for surgical cricothyroidotomies, other devices may offer comparable performance. Recommendations for regional anesthesia after blunt trauma are not well defined. Increasing amounts of evidence favor the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for refractory hypoxemia and resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) for severe hemorrhage. REBOA outcomes are potentially improved by partial occlusion and small 7 Fr catheters.SummaryThe Global War on Terror has provided opportunities to better understand and treat thoracic trauma in military settings. Trauma registries and other data sources have contributed to significant advancements in the management of thoracic trauma in military and civilian populations.

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