Infectious Complications After Battlefield Injuries: Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment

Heather C. Yun*, Dana M. Blyth, Clinton K. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Recent conflicts have resulted in an unprecedented proportion of survivors of complex battlefield injuries. These patients are predisposed to infectious complications with multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs). The epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of these infections are described, with emphasis on recent literature. Recent Findings: Data from the Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study (TIDOS) cohort have revealed a 27% rate of infectious complications in those evacuated after traumatic injury; this increases to 50% in the intensive care unit. Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus was common in casualties injured in Iraq, but was replaced by other extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae as well as fungi in casualties from Afghanistan. Prevention of infections includes short courses of narrow-spectrum prophylactic antimicrobials and infection control; the mainstay of wound infection prevention is debridement and irrigation. Treatment of many infections is primarily surgical and antimicrobial therapy directed against expected and recovered pathogens. Summary: Infections after combat trauma are common and complex, requiring a multidisciplinary approach to prevention and care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Trauma Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Combat trauma
  • Drug-resistant organism
  • Infection
  • Infection prevention
  • Military medicine
  • Trauma


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