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US Air Force grant targets medical evacuation procedures
Date:9/18/2008

University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers have received a grant in excess of $2 million from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine to determine the ideal time to fly that minimizes health complications to injured soldiers due to the rush to move them from the battlefield into a safe zone.

"There is a sense of urgency about getting these wounded soldiers to a cleaner, safer environment," explains Col. Warren Dorlac, MD, co-principal investigator on the UC study. "Our overriding goal is to protect patients from anything that could potentially lead to a cascade of medical complications that will jeopardize survival. But the reality is that evacuation is happening at a time when they are most prone to a secondary hit."

According to U.S. military reports, about 30 to 50 soldiers are critically wounded each month and require medical evacuation out of a war zone. Most are in transit to a full-service hospital within 48 hours.

Avoiding this "second hit"such as a serious infection or pneumoniaimproves survival dramatically. Doing so is challenging, however, in the middle of a war zone where medical troops are being cared for in maze of canvas and plywood hospital tents.

Dorlac and his colleagues believe there may be a direct link between inflammatory changes in the body and the timing of strategic medical evacuation movements.

For this study, UC researchers will investigate how early evacuation of combat casualties affects the body's inflammatory response, possibly predisposing already critically wounded people to death from related complications.

"We need to understand the biological effects of the hypobaric environment so we can minimize the risk for additional injuries," says Dorlac, associate professor of surgery at UC and director of the Cincinnati Center for Sustainment and Readiness Skills (C-STARS) program housed in University Hospital.

Currently, no data exists on the impact of the
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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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