Quality of life in united states veterans with combat-related ostomies from Iraq and Afghanistan

Michael S. Clemens, Thomas A. Heafner, Devin B. Watson, James K. Aden, Todd E. Rasmussen, Sean C. Glasgow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Assess the impact of ostomy formation on quality of life for U.S. Service Members. Methods: U.S. personnel sustaining colorectal trauma from 2003 to 2011 were identified using the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. A cross-sectional observational study was conducted utilizing prospective interviews with standard survey instruments. Primary outcome measures were the Stoma Quality of Life Scale and Veterans RAND 36 scores and subjective responses. Patients with colorectal trauma not requiring ostomy served as controls. Results: Of 177 available patients, 90 (50.8%) male veterans consented to participate (55 ostomy, 35 control). No significant differences were observed between ostomy and control groups for Injury Severity Score (25.6 ± 9.9 vs. 22.9 ± 11.8, p = 0.26) or mechanism of injury (blast: 55 vs. 52%, p = 0.75); nonostomates had fewer anorectal injuries (3.2 vs. 47.9%, p < 0.01). Median follow-up was 6.7 years. Veterans RAND-36 Physical and Mental Component Scores were similar between groups. About 45.8% of ostomates were willing-to-trade a median of 10 years (interquartile range = 5-15) of their remaining life for gastrointestinal continuity. At last follow-up, 95.9% of respondents’ combat-related ostomies were reversed with a median duration of 6 (range = 3-19) months diverted. Conclusions: Ostomy creation in a combat environment remains safe and does not have a quantifiable impact on long-term quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1569-e1574
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016


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