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

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

Published Dec 23, 2020

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.

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 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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