A US military Role 2 forward surgical team database study of combat mortality in Afghanistan.
BACKGROUND: Timely and optimal care can reduce mortality among critically injured combat casualties. US military Role 2 surgical teams were deployed to forward positions in Afghanistan on behalf of the battlefield trauma system. They received prehospital casualties, provided early damage control resuscitation and surgery, and rapidly transferred casualties to Role 3 hospitals for definitive care. A database was developed to capture Role 2 data.
METHODS: A retrospective review and descriptive analysis were conducted of battle-injured casualties transported to US Role 2 surgical facilities in Afghanistan from February 2008 to September 2014. Casualties were analyzed by mortality status and location of death (pretransport, intratransport, or posttransport), military affiliation, transport time, injury type and mechanism, combat mortality index-prehospital (CMI-PH), and documented prehospital treatment.
RESULTS: Of 9,557 casualties (median age, 25.0 years; male, 97.4%), most (95.1%) survived to transfer from Role 2 facility care. Military affiliation included US coalition forces (37.4%), Afghanistan National Security Forces (23.8%), civilian/other forces (21.3%), Afghanistan National Police (13.5%), and non-US coalition forces (4.0%). Mortality differed by military affiliation (p < 0.001). Among fatalities, most were Afghanistan National Security Forces (30.5%) civilian/other forces (26.0%), or US coalition forces (25.2%). Of those categorized by CMI-PH, 40.0% of critical, 11.2% of severe, 0.8% of moderate, and less than 0.1% of mild casualties died. Most fatalities with CMI-PH were categorized as critical (66.3%) or severe (25.9%), whereas most who lived were mild (56.9%) or moderate (25.4%). Of all fatalities, 14.0% died prehospital (pretransport, 5.8%; intratransport, 8.2%), and 86.0% died at a Role 2 facility (posttransport). Of fatalities with documented transport times (median, 53.0 minutes), most (61.7%) were evacuated within 60 minutes.
CONCLUSIONS: Role 2 surgical team care has been an important early component of the battlefield trauma system in Afghanistan. Combat casualty care must be documented, collected, and analyzed for outcomes and trends to improve performance.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic/Care Management, level IV.
Published In/Presented At
Kotwal, R. S., Staudt, A. M., Mazuchowski, E. L., Gurney, J. M., Shackelford, S. A., Butler, F. K., Stockinger, Z. T., Holcomb, J. B., Nessen, S. C., & Mann-Salinas, E. A. (2018). A US military Role 2 forward surgical team database study of combat mortality in Afghanistan. The journal of trauma and acute care surgery, 85(3), 603–612. https://doi.org/10.1097/TA.0000000000001997
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine