A Review of the First 10 Years of Critical Care Aeromedical Transport During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom: The Importance of Evacuation Timing | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
August 2014

A Review of the First 10 Years of Critical Care Aeromedical Transport During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom: The Importance of Evacuation Timing

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • 2Critical Care Program, Landsthul Regional Medical Center, Kaiserlautern, Germany
  • 3Joint Trauma System, US Army Institute of Surgical Research, Ft Sam Houston, Texas
  • 4Trauma Program, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Kaiserlautern, Germany
  • 5Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Illinois
  • 6Office of the Surgeon General, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
  • 7Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cinncinnati, Ohio
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(8):807-813. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.621
Abstract

Importance  Advances in the care of the injured patient are perhaps the only benefit of military conflict. One of the unique aspects of the military medical care system that emerged during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom has been the opportunity to apply existing civilian trauma system standards to the provision of combat casualty care across an evolving theater of operations.

Objectives  To identify differences in mortality for soldiers undergoing early and rapid evacuation from the combat theater and to evaluate the capabilities of the Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) and Joint Theater Trauma Registry databases to provide adequate data to support future initiatives for improvement of performance.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Retrospective review of CCATT records and the Joint Theater Trauma Registry from September 11, 2001, to December 31, 2010, for the in-theater military medicine health system, including centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany. Of 2899 CCATT transport records, those for 975 individuals had all the required data elements.

Exposure  Rapid evacuation by the CCATT.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Survival as a function of time from injury to arrival at the role IV facility at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Results  The patient cohort demonstrated a mean Injury Severity Score of 23.7 and an overall 30-day mortality of 2.1%. Mortality en route was less than 0.02%. Statistically significant differences between survivors and decedents with respect to the Injury Severity Score (mean [SD], 23.4 [12.4] vs 37.7 [16.5]; P < .001), cumulative volume of blood transfused among the patients in each group who received a transfusion (P < .001), worst base deficit (mean [SD], −3.4 [5.0] vs −7.8 [6.9]; P = .02), and worst international normalized ratio (median [interquartile range], 1.2 [1.0-1.4] vs 1.4 [1.1-2.2]; P = .03) were observed. We found no statistically significant difference between survivors and decedents with respect to time from injury to arrival at definitive care.

Conclusions and Relevance  Rapid movement of critically injured casualties within hours of wounding appears to be effective, with a minimal mortality incurred during movement and overall 30-day mortality. We found no association between the duration of time from wounding to arrival at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center with respect to mortality.

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