Mitigating the Effects of Blast-Related Burn Injuries from Prolonged Field Care to Rehabilitation and Resilience

Proceedings and Expert Findings from a U.S. Department of Defense International State-of-the-Science Meeting

by Emily Hoch, Samantha McBirney, Charles C. Engel, Tepring Piquado


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Burns are one of the most difficult injuries for which to care, and deployed service members are twice as likely as civilians to suffer a burn injury. In particular, blast-related burn injuries caused by improvised explosive devices accounted for the vast majority of burns in the recent conflict in Afghanistan. Infection control is essential to manage these burns, which are at elevated risk of infection and other potentially deadly complications, and immediate evacuation is not always possible in a combat setting. In these cases, burn injuries must be managed in a prolonged field care environment—i.e., field medical care is applied until the patient can be evacuated—which presents unique challenges.

To identify knowledge gaps in blast-injury research; ensure that U.S. Department of Defense medical research programs address existing gaps; foster collaboration; promote information-sharing; and identify actions to prevent, mitigate, and treat blast injuries, RAND researchers hosted the Ninth Department of Defense International State-of-the-Science Meeting (SoSM) on Blast Injury Research on March 3–5, 2020, at RAND's office in Arlington, Virginia. The topic of the SoSM, led by experts in burn research and military medicine, was "Mitigating the Effects of Blast-Related Burn Injuries from Prolonged Field Care to Rehabilitation and Resilience." These conference proceedings provide summary information on (1) the background of the meeting, including working group findings, future directions, and recommendations; (2) a literature review that RAND researchers completed in support of the meeting; (3) the SoSM keynote address; and (4) all meeting presentations and abstracts.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    State-of-the-Science Meeting Content Summary

  • Chapter Two

    Literature Review Summary

  • Chapter Three

    Keynote Address

  • Chapter Four

    Invited Speaker Presentation Summaries

  • Chapter Five

    Scientific Presentation Summaries

  • Chapter Six

    Accepted Poster Abstracts

  • Appendix A

    Previous State-of-the-Science Meetings

  • Appendix B

    Agenda of the Ninth State-of-the-Science Meeting

  • Appendix C

    Biography of Keynote Speaker COL Kevin K. Chung

  • Appendix D

    Expert Panel Biographies

  • Appendix E

    Planning Committee

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and the DoD Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Conference proceeding series. RAND conference proceedings present a collection of papers delivered at a conference or a summary of the conference.

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