BACKGROUND: US military burn casualties are evacuated to the US Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center in San Antonio, TX. Patients are transported by US Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Flight Teams, Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Teams, or routine aeromedical evacuation. This study characterizes the military burn casualties transported by each team and reports associated outcomes. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of burn center registry data, identifying all US burn casualties admitted to the Army's burn center between March 2003 and February 2007. Data included total body surface area (TBSA) burn, ventilatory status, inhalational injury, associated injuries, injury severity, disposition, morbidity, and mortality. RESULTS: During 4 years of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, 540 casualties were admitted to our burn center for treatment of injuries resulting from war-related operations. Mean burn size was 16.7% total body surface area (range, <1%-95%) with a mean Injury Severity Score of 12.2 +/- 13.7. One hundred eight-one (33.5%) casualties required ventilatory support in flight; inhalation injury was confirmed in 69 (12.7%) patients. Two hundred six (38.1%) were transported by the Burn Flight Team and 174 (32.2%) were transported by Critical Care Air Transport Team, with a mean transit time of 4 days after injury. One hundred sixty (29.6%) patients were routine aeromedical evacuees. There were no in-flight deaths reported; 30 (5.6%) patients died of their wounds at our burn center. CONCLUSIONS: Burn casualties represent a group of patients with severe traumatic injuries. Our current system of selectively using specialty medical transport teams for the long-range transport of burn casualties is safe and effective.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine