Afghan war wounded: experience with 200 cases

J Trauma. 1988 Apr;28(4):523-5. doi: 10.1097/00005373-198804000-00019.


The injuries seen in 200 Afghan war wounded in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hospital in Quetta are reported. Evacuation took several days and no proper initial first aid was available. Therefore few of those reaching us had serious multiple injuries. The anatomic distribution of wounds was remarkably similar to that seen in other conflicts: 38% of the injuries were caused by bullets, 50% by fragmentation weapons, and 10% by mines. Two thirds of the patients had limb injuries. Of all wounded, patients with fractures of long bones needed the greatest number of repeated operations and the longest hospitalization time. Twenty-five patients had abdominal or perineal wounds and 12 needed laparotomy. Of 25 with head injuries 14 had penetrating brain trauma. Thoracic, vascular, and burn injuries were rare. The eight patients with spinal cord injury could fortunately be referred to the ICRC rehabilitation center in Peshawar within a week. Wound sepsis was the major problem due to the extraordinarly long delay in the initiation of treatment. In spite of the often grossly infected wounds, radical debridement usually led to good recovery for most patients, with a hospital mortality rate of only 2.5%.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / surgery
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Afghanistan
  • Arm Injuries / surgery
  • Child
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / surgery
  • Male
  • Skin Transplantation
  • Warfare
  • Wound Infection / therapy
  • Wounds and Injuries / surgery*