Advancing Combat Casualty Care Statistics and Other Battlefield Care Metrics.

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Aggregate statistics can provide intra-conflict and inter-conflict mortality comparisons and trends within and between U.S. combat operations. However, capturing individual-level data to evaluate medical and non-medical factors that influence combat casualty mortality has historically proven difficult. The Department of Defense (DoD) Trauma Registry, developed as an integral component of the Joint Trauma System during recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, has amassed individual-level data that have afforded greater opportunity for a variety of analyses and comparisons. Although aggregate statistics are easily calculated and commonly used across the DoD, other issues that require consideration include the impact of individual medical interventions, non-medical factors, non-battle-injured casualties, and incomplete or missing medical data, especially for prehospital care and forward surgical team care. Needed are novel methods to address these issues in order to provide a clearer interpretation of aggregate statistics and to highlight solutions that will ultimately increase survival and eliminate preventable death on the battlefield. Although many U.S. military combat fatalities sustain injuries deemed non-survivable, survival among these casualties might be improved using primary and secondary prevention strategies that prevent injury or reduce injury severity. The current commentary proposes adjustments to traditional aggregate combat casualty care statistics by integrating statistics from the DoD Military Trauma Mortality Review process as conducted by the Joint Trauma System and Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.




Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

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