Indexed on: 02 Mar '18Published on: 02 Mar '18Published in: Prehospital emergency care : official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the National Association of State EMS Directors
United States (US) and coalition military medical units deployed to combat zones frequently encounter pediatric trauma patients. Pediatric patients may present unique challenges due to their anatomical and physiological characteristics and most military prehospital providers lack pediatric-specific training. A minimal amount of data exists to illuminate the prehospital care of pediatric patients in this environment. We describe the prehospital care of pediatric trauma patients in Iraq and Afghanistan. We queried the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for all pediatric subjects admitted to US and Coalition fixed-facility hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan from January 2007 to January 2016. Subjects were grouped by age: <1, 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, and 15-17 years. We focused our analysis on interventions related to trauma resuscitation. Of 42,790 encounters in the DODTR during the study period, 3,439 (8.0%) were aged <18 years. Most subjects were in the 5-9 age group (33.1%), male (77.1%), located in Afghanistan (67.8%), injured by explosives (43.1%). Most subjects survived to hospital discharge (90.2%). The most frequently performed interventions were tourniquet placement (6.6%), intubation (6.1%), supplemental oxygen (11.7%), IV access (24.8%), IV fluids (13.3%), IO access (5.1%), and hypothermia prevention (44.5%). The most frequently administered medications were antibiotics (6.2%) and opioids (15.0%). Most procedural and medication interventions occurred in subjects injured by explosives (43.1%) and gunshot wounds (22.1%). Pediatric subjects comprised over 1 in 13 casualties treated in the joint theaters with the majority injured by explosives. Vascular access and hypothermia prevention interventions were the most frequently performed procedures. Key words: prehospital; pediatric; combat; trauma; military.