Early infections complicating the care of combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan

Amy C. Weintrob, Clinton K. Murray, Jiahong Xu, Margot Krauss, William Bradley, Tyler E. Warkentien, Bradley A. Lloyd, David R. Tribble*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: During the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 52,000 U.S. military members were wounded in action. The battlefield mortality rate was lower than in past conflicts, however, those surviving often had complex soft tissue and bone injuries requiring multiple surgeries. This report describes the rates, types, and risks of infections complicating the care of combat casualties. Patients and Methods: Infection and microbiology data obtained from the Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study (TIDOS), a prospective observational study of infections complicating deployment-related injuries, were used to determine the proportion of infection, types, and associated organisms. Injury and surgical information were collected from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models were used to evaluate potential factors associated with infection. Results: From 2009-2012, 1,807 combat casualties were evacuated to U.S. TIDOS-participating hospitals. Among the 1,807 patients, the proportion of overall infections from time of injury through initial U.S. hospitalization was 34% with half being skin, soft tissue, or bone infections. Infected wounds most commonly grew Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter spp. or Escherichia coli. In the multivariable model, amputation, blood transfusions, intensive care unit admission, injury severity scores, mechanical ventilation, and mechanism of injury were associated with risk of infection. Conclusions: One-third of combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan develop infections during their initial hospitalization. Amputations, blood transfusions, and overall injury severity are associated with risk of infection, whereas more easily modifiable factors such as early operative intervention or antibiotic administration are not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • combat trauma
  • military health
  • trauma-related infections
  • wound infections


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