-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- One in nine U.S. troops who
suffered combat wounds in Iraq or Afghanistan had a spinal injury,
a much higher rate than in previous wars, according to a new
Researchers analyzed U.S. Department of Defense casualty records
from 2005 to 2009 and found that spinal injuries were present in 11
percent of nearly 7,900 troops wounded in combat in the two
Fractures were involved in more than 80 percent of spinal
injuries. Three-quarters of spinal injuries were caused by
explosions and about 15 percent by gunshots, found the study in the
Sept. 15 issue of the journal
About 3 percent of soldiers with spinal injuries died after
receiving medical care. The study did not include those who died
before receiving medical care.
Overall, spinal damage occurred at a rate of 4.4 injuries per
10,000 U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan,
with a rate of four per 10,000 for spinal fractures. In contrast,
the rate of injuries to limbs was about 15 per 10,000 troops,
according to a journal news release.
Soldiers in Afghanistan were more likely to sustain spinal
injuries than those in Iraq, and members of the Army were more
likely to sustain the injuries than those in other branches of the
military. The Iraq War "surge" year of 2007 resulted in the highest
rate of spinal injuries. Gunshot-related spinal wounds were more
common in Iraq than in Afghanistan.
"The 11.1 percent rate of spinal injuries represents the highest published statistic for Iraq, Afghanistan or any other American conflict," said Dr. Andrew Schoenfeld, of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, and his colleagues.
They said the rate of spinal injuries is perhaps 10 times higher
than in the Vietnam War. They noted that in previous wars, most
soldiers with spinal trauma were injured so severely that they did
"Advances in military medicine are now enabling soldiers to reach medical facilities where their spinal wounds can be identified," the study authors said.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
spinal cord injuries.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.