(HealthDay News) – Spine injuries account for >11% of all casualties among U.S. combat-wounded military in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study published in the Sept. 15 issue of Spine.
Andrew J. Schoenfeld, MD, from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of casualty records from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry for 2005–2009 to assess the incidence and epidemiology of combat-related spinal injuries for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The researchers identified 872 casualties with spine injuries among a total of 7,877 combat wounded (11.1%), with a mean age of 26.6 years. The most common injury morphology was spine fractures, accounting for 83% of all spinal wounds. The incidence of combat-related spinal trauma was 4.4 per 10,000, while spine fracture incidence was 4 per 10,000. The rate of spinal cord injuries was 4 per 100,000. The incidence of spinal cord injuries was increased in Afghanistan (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.96), among Army personnel (IRR, 16.85), and in 2007 (IRR, 1.9). Gunshot-related spinal injuries were significantly more likely to occur in Iraq than Afghanistan (17% vs. 10%; P=0.02).
“The incidence of spine trauma in modern warfare exceeds reported rates from earlier conflicts,” the authors write.
Relevant financial activities outside the submitted work were disclosed.