Burns in the Military Setting-Analyzing 12,799 Routine and Combat Cases

J Burn Care Res. 2021 Feb 3;42(1):67-70. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/iraa107.

Abstract

Burns are a major trauma source in civilian and military settings, with a huge impact on patient's well-being, health system, and operation status of the force in the military setting. The purpose of our study was to summarize characteristics of all burn cases seen by the Israel Defense Forces primary care physicians during the years 2008 to 2016. This can help understand what causes most burns, in what units, at which stages and settings and consequently will allow commanders to make decisions regarding safety rules, protective equipment and uniforms, medical education for soldiers, etc. Data were collected from the military database system. All burn-related visits were analyzed using a designated big data computerized algorithm that used keywords and phrases to retrieve data from the database. 12,799 burn injuries were found presented in 65,536 burn-related visits which were analyzed according to the demographics, burn mechanism, and military unit. It was observed that most of the burns (70.7%) occurred during routine noncombat setting and there was a gradual decrease in burn injuries during the investigated period, from 17.6% of the cases in 2008 to 2.3% in 2016. Most of the burns occurred in the Air Force (19.4%), and the leading etiology was chemical (35%). The average TBSA was 7.5%. Since most of the burns occurred in a routine setting and were occupational-related, investment in education and improving fire protection has proven itself, leading to the decrease in burn prevalence, we recommend that more emphasis should be given on proper handling of chemicals.