A Case Report of Combat Blast Injury Requiring Combat Casualty Care, Far-Forward ECMO, Air Transport, and All Levels of Military Critical Care.
We describe a 34-year-old soldier who sustained a blast injury in Syria resulting in tracheal 5 cm tracheal loss, cervical spine and cord injury with tetraplegia, multiple bilateral rib fractures, esophageal injury, traumatic brain injury, globe evisceration, and multiple extremity soft tissue and musculoskeletal injuries including a left tibia fracture with compartment syndrome. An emergent intubation of the transected trachea was performed in the field, and the patient was resuscitated with whole blood prehospital. During transport to the Role 2, the patient required cardiopulmonary resuscitation for cardiac arrest. On arrival, he underwent a resuscitative thoracotomy and received a massive transfusion exclusively with whole blood. A specialized critical care team transported the patient to the Role 3 hospital in Baghdad, and the DoD extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) team was activated secondary to his unstable airway and severe hypoxia secondary to pulmonary blast injury. The casualty was cannulated in Baghdad approximately 40 hours after injury with bifemoral cannulae in a venovenous configuration. He was transported from Iraq to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center in San Antonio without issue. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support was successfully weaned, and he was decannulated on ECMO day 4. The early and en route use of venovenous ECMO allowed for maintenance of respiratory support during transport and bridge to operative management and demonstrates the feasibility of prolonged ECMO transport in critically ill combat casualties.
Piper, LC; Nam, JJ; Kuckelman, JP; Sams, VG; DellaVolpe, JD; Biscotti, M; Negaard, KA; Mason, PE; Gurney, JM
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