Presenting hypertension, burn injury, and mortality in combat casualties

Anders J. Davidson, Sarah Ashley E. Ferencz, Jonathan A. Sosnov, Jeffrey T. Howard, Jud C. Janak, Kevin K. Chung, Ian J. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: The effect of presenting hypertension is poorly studied in combat casualties. We hypothesized that elevated mean arterial pressure (MAP) on presentation to combat hospitals would be associated with poor outcomes. Methods: Data was obtained from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. Variables analyzed included presenting vital signs to Role II–III military theater hospital, demographic variables, injury severity score (ISS), location and mechanism of injury, presence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), acute kidney injury (AKI), and mortality. Patients were stratified by decile of MAP and logistic regression analysis was employed to adjust for confounders. Results: A total of 4072 subjects injured from February 2002 to February 2011 were identified. Compared to patients in the middle deciles of presenting MAP, patients in the highest and lowest MAP deciles were the only groups that demonstrated a higher mortality on univariate analysis (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.16–2.31 and OR 2.86, 95% CI 1.76–4.67, respectively), and this relationship persisted after adjustment for ISS, HR, temperature, presence of burn injury, TBI, and AKI. Burn injury was associated with mortality in the full multivariate analysis. However, further analysis limited to patients without burn injury did not demonstrate an association between high MAP and mortality (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.36–1.99; p = 0.70). Conversely, when limited to patients with burn injury, high MAP was associated with mortality (OR 3.78, 95% CI 1.74–8.20; p = 0.001). Conclusion: The relationship between mortality and presenting MAP appears to be U-shaped, demonstrating increased mortality in the lowest and highest deciles. However, mortality in the highest MAP decile appears to be limited to casualties with associated burn injury, even after adjustment for TBI, AKI, and ISS, which takes into account the severity of the burn injury. Physicians should recognize that burn patients presenting with an elevated MAP are at an increased risk for poor outcomes. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Burn
  • Combat casualties
  • Hypertension
  • MAP
  • Prehospital


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