Ronny Ben-Avi MD, Alex Sorkin MD, Roy Nadler MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Jacob Chen MD MHA, and Avi Benov MD MHA; and Israel Trauma Group
Background: Chest trauma is among the most common types of trauma, corresponding to 10% of trauma patients admitted to hospitals. In the military setting, thoracic trauma was reported as a significant cause of death. With well-timed treatment, chest trauma is regarded as survivable. Emergency thoracotomy (ET) is considered when the patient with trauma to the chest needs immediate resuscitation. Survival rate is reported as low as 1% in some reports and 20% in others. The survival rate depends on injury mechanism, protocols for intervention, and other decompressive procedures.
Objectives: To determine parameters that may impact survival of ET.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare prehospital and in-hospital data regarding ET in the emergency department (ED) versus the operating room (OR).
Results: Between 2009 and 2017, 6532 casualties presented to the ED; 1125 with trauma to the chest. Fifty-four of those with chest trauma underwent ET in the hospital (4.8%), 22 (41%) in the ED, and 32 (59%) in the OR. The overall mortality of the ET subgroup was 48%. With regard to thoracotomies, 19/22 of patients (86%) who underwent ET in the ED died compared to 2/28 in the OR (13%).
Conclusions: Utilizing ET after chest trauma with appropriate clinical indications, well-trained personnel, and prompt transportation poses a significant challenge, but may be associated with better survival than that reported previously with military casualties. Adoption of indications and timed allocation to the OR may improve outcomes with chest trauma casualties.
Maxim Bez MD PhD, Dana Bez MD MPH, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Roy Nadler MD MHA, Avi Benov MD, and Jacob Chen MD MSc MHA
Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant cause of death in the battlefield. TBI can be challenging to diagnose in the combat setting and remains a substantial challenge for advanced life support (ALS) providers.
Objectives: To compare prehospital and hospitalization characteristics between isolated and non-isolated TBI. To examine the effects of TBI with coexisting injuries on patient evaluation and outcomes based on the Israeli Defense Forces Trauma Registry and the Israeli National Trauma Registry of soldiers hospitalized for TBI between the years 2006–2017.
Methods: A total of 885 casualties were eligible for our study, of whom 271 (30%) had isolated TBI. Only 35% of hospitalized patients with isolated TBI were defined as urgent by the ALS providers versus 67% in the non-isolated TBI group (P < 0.001).
Results: Overall, 29% of the TBIs in the non-isolated group were missed by the ALS providers vs. 11% in the isolated group.
Conclusions: Concomitant injuries may delay the diagnosis of TBI by ALS providers. These findings should be considered in the prehospital evaluation to potentially improve the care and outcome of head injury patients.
Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Roy Nadler MD, Alex Sorkin MD, Ilona Lipkin BEMS, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Jacob Chen MD MHA, and Avi Benov MD MHA
Background: Vehicle-ramming attacks have become a common tactic for terror organizations worldwide. However, the medical implications of vehicle-ramming attacks remain unknown.
Objectives: To investigate the characteristics of vehicle-ramming attack incidents and casualties in order to assist in guiding the policy of medical organizations.
Methods: In this study we included all vehicle-ramming attacks recorded in the Israel Defense Forces-Trauma Registry between 2015 and 2019. Records were screened using text mining of incident, casualty, and injury descriptions. The selected records were examined manually to ensure that they were vehicle-ramming attacks. Incident and casualty data were retrieved from the trauma registry.
Results: During the years 2015–2019, a total of 36 vehicle-ramming attacks with 113 casualties were documented in the trauma registry. The median number of casualties, urgent casualties, and fatalities per incident was 3 (interquartile range [IQR] 2–5), 1 (IQR 1–2), and 1 (IQR 1–1), respectively. Of the incidents, 15 (42%) had three or more casualties. The most prevelant day of the week was Friday with 9 incidents (25%). Within the day, 21 incidents (58%) occurred between the hours of 12:00 and 18:00. Commonly injured body regions were lower extremities (55%), head (28%), and upper extremities. Ten victims (9%) died before arriving at a hospital.
Conclusions: Vehicle-ramming attacks tend to have multiple casualties, be deadly, occur more often on Fridays and in the afternoon, and result mostly in injuries to the extremities and the head. These findings could guide policymaking to improve medical response to vehicle-ramming attacks.
Helit Nakar MD, Alex Sorkin MD, Roy Nadler MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Guy Avital MD, Elon Glassberg MD MHA MBA, Tarif Bader MD MHA MA, Lidar Fridrich MD, Jacob Chen MD MHA MSc, and Avi Benov MD MHA
Background: Pain control in trauma is an integral part of treatment in combat casualty care. More soldiers injured on the battlefield need analgesics for pain than life-saving interventions (LSIs). Early treatment of pain improves outcomes after injury, while inadequate treatment leads to higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Objective: To describe the experience of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps with prehospital use of analgesia.
Methods: All cases documented in the IDF-Trauma Registry between January 1997 and December 2019 were examined. Data collection included analgesia administered, mechanism of injury, wound distribution, and life-saving interventions performed.
Results: Of 16,117 patients, 1807 (11.2%) had at least one documented analgesia. Demographics included 91.2% male; median age 21 years. Leading mechanism of injury was penetrating (52.9%). Of injured body regions reported, 46.2% were lower extremity wounds. Most common types of analgesics were morphine (57.2%) and fentanyl (27%). Over the two decades of the study period, types of analgesics given by providers at point of injury (POI) had changed. Fentanyl was introduced in 2013, and by 2019 was given to 39% of patients. Another change was an increase of casualties receiving analgesia from 5–10% until 2010 to 34% by 2019. A total of 824 LSIs were performed on 556 patients (30.8%) receiving analgesia and no adverse events were found in any of the casualties.
Conclusions: Most casualties at POI did not receive any analgesics. The most common analgesics administered were opioids. Over time analgesic administration has gained acceptance and become more commonplace on the battlefield.
Alex Sorkin MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Roy Nadler MD, Ariel Hirschhorn MD, Ezri Tarazi BDes, Jacob Chen MD MHA, Noam Fink MD, Guy Avital MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, and Avi Benov MD MHA
Background: The Israeli Defense Forces-Medical Corps (IDF-MC) focuses on reducing preventable death by improving prehospital trauma care. High quality documentation of care can serve casualty care and to improve future care. Currently, paper casualty cards are used for documentation. Incomplete data acquisition and inadequate data handover are common. To resolve these deficits, the IDF-MC launched the BladeShield 101 project.
Objectives: To assess the quality of casualty care data acquired by comparing standard paper casualty cards with the BladeShield 101.
Methods: The BladeShield 101 system consists of three components: a patient unit that records vital signs and medical care provided, a medical sensor that transmits to the patient unit, and a ruggedized mobile device that allows providers to access and document information. We compared all trauma registries of casualties treated between September 2019 and June 2020.
Results: The system was applied during the study period on 24 patients. All data were transferred to the military trauma registry within one day, compared to 72% (141/194) with a paper casualty card (P < 0.01). Information regarding treatment time was available in 100% vs. 43% (P < 0.01) of cases and 98% vs. 67% (P < 0.01) of treatments provided were documented comparing BladeShield 101 with paper cards, respectively.
Conclusions: Using an autonomous system to record, view, deliver, and store casualty information may resolve most current information flow deficits. This solution will ultimately significantly improve individual patient care and systematic learning and development processes.