Analysis of Otologic Injuries Due to Blast Trauma by Handmade Explosives

Turk Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Jun;55(2):64-68. doi: 10.5152/tao.2017.2328. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Objective: The aim of this study is to identify the otologic injuries due to handmade explosive-welded blast travma in the law enforcement officers during the combat operations in the curfew security region and to specify the disorders that Otolaryngology and Head Neck Surgery (OHNS) physicians can face during such operations.

Methods: Medical records of patients in law enforcement who were initially treated by OHNS physicians of Silopi State Hospital during combat operations, between December 14, 2015 and January 15, 2016 were reviewed. Twenty-five patients with otologic injuries due to blast trauma were included in the study. Trauma characteristics, physical examination findings, and beginning treatments were identified.

Results: Primary blast injury (PBI) was identified as the major disorder in all 24 cases. Tinnitus and hearing loss were the most frequent complaints. In physical examination, tympanic membrane perforations were found in four ears of three patients. Oral methylprednisolone in decreasing doses for 10 days was commenced as an initial treatment in patients with PBI. Secondary blast injury presented in the form of soft tissue damage in the auricular helix due to shrapnel pieces in one patient and a minor surgery was performed.

Conclusion: Otologic injuries due to blast trauma may often develop during this type of combat operations. Otologic symptoms should be checked, otoscopic examination should be performed, and patients should consult OHNS physicians as soon as possible after trauma.

Keywords: Blast trauma; hearing loss; tinnitus; tympanic membrane perforation.