Impact of traumatic upper-extremity amputation on the outcome of injury caused by an antipersonnel improvised explosive device
Canadian Journal of Surgery
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Background: We have previously reported a higher than expected rate of upper-extremity amputation (UEA) in victims of an antipersonnel improvised explosive device (AP-IED) compared with a similar cohort injured by antipersonnel mines (APM). The goal of this study was to describe the rate, severity and impact of UAE caused by an AP-IED. Methods: We analyzed a prospective database of 100 consecutive dismounted AP-IED victims with pattern 1 injuries to compare the outcomes of the cohort with UEA to that without. Results: We found that UEA (8 above elbow, 19 below elbow, 1 through elbow, 3 hand, 15 digit(s)) was much more prevalent with AP-IED than with APM (40% v. 6%, p < 0.001). In addition, UEA was associated with a higher rate of multiple amputations (39 [98%] v. 32 [53%], p < 0.001), bilateral lower-extremity amputation (LEA; 33 [82.5%] v. 30 [53.3%], p = 0.003) and facial injury (8 [20%] v. 4 [6.4%], p = 0.044), but not with pelvic disruption (10 [25%]), genitoperineal mutilation (19 [48%]), eye injury (6 [15%]), or skull fracture (6 [15%]). The fatality rate was higher in patients with UEA than in those without (12 [30%] v. 7 [12%], p = 0.022). Conclusion: Upper-extremity amputation is more prevalent with AP-IED than APM. Presence of UEA is associated with more severe injury and increased risk of death in AP-IED victims. Upper-limb injury has significant consequences for rehabilitation from LEA, which universally accompanies UEA in AP-IED victims. Upper-extremity injury should be amenable to prevention by innovative personal protective equipment designed to protect the flexed elbow.