Explosions and Blast Injuries: A Primer for Clinicians   [open pdf - 142KB]

Explosions can produce unique patterns of injury seldom seen outside combat. When they do occur, they have the potential to inflict multi-system life-threatening injuries on many persons simultaneously. The injury patterns following such events are a product of the composition and amount of the materials involved, the surrounding environment, delivery method (if a bomb), the distance between the victim and the blast, and any intervening protective barriers or environmental hazards. Because explosions are relatively infrequent, blast-related injuries can present unique triage, diagnostic, and management challenges to providers of emergency care. Few U.S. health professionals have experience with explosive-related injuries. Vietnam era physicians are retiring, other armed conflicts have been short-lived, and until this past decade, the U.S. was largely spared of the scourge of mega-terrorist attacks. This primer introduces information relevant to the care of casualties from explosives and blast injuries.

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