The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium: An Overview
The Major Extremity Trauma Research Consortium (METRC) was established in September 2009 with funding from the Department of Defense (DoD). It consists of a network of over 50 clinical centers and one data coordinating center that work together to conduct multicenter clinical research studies designed to define best practices for treating serious limb injuries that account for more than one-half of serious combat injuries and two-thirds of patients admitted to U.S. civilian trauma centers. Since the Civil War, lessons learned in caring for the wounded have been critical to enhancing the care of injuries that occur every day in civilian life. It has been important to further develop and refine these advances in civilian practice during peacetime, so that they are available for future conflicts.1 METRC is committed to developing the evidence base that will establish best practices for the care of these injuries. By combining the population of injured service members and combat expertise of military treatment facilities with the patients and clinical research expertise of civilian trauma centers, METRC is able to conduct studies of sufficient size to address the gaps in our understanding of what works best and for whom.2 METRC speaks directly to the need for military–civilian partnerships and multicenter collaborations in support of a national trauma system as recently envisioned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).3
METRC emphasizes 5 principles in the selection, design, and execution of its studies:
In this supplement, we present the protocols for 11 studies designed and implemented by METRC between 2009 and 2012. They are organized around 3 major research themes: (1) Prevention and Management of Infection and Other Major Complications; (2) Limb Salvage and Amputation Outcomes; and (3) Management of Pain and Psychosocial Consequences.
The success of METRC is a testament to the extraordinary vision of the Congressional leaders who appropriated the funding that made the program possible, to the recognition by the DoD of the most pressing research priorities in need of attention, to the capabilities of our clinical centers, and perhaps most importantly, to the willingness of the many service members and civilian trauma patients who have volunteered their time to make a difference. We dedicate this supplement to them. Their commitment to the research we do today will help ensure that in the future, those who are injured will benefit from state-of-the-art care and live their lives to the fullest possible measure of their capabilities.