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Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(4): SR22-28
Background: Military casualties in Afghanistan arise in part from climatic and natural conditions that are difficult for European soldiers to endure, as well as from intense guerrilla combat with mass use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), thus posing numerous and diverse medical problems requiring evacuation to the home country. A search of the literature revealed no comprehensive studies of the causes of medical evacuation from this theater of operations.
Material/Methods: This article is a review of medical reports of the Polish Military Contingent taking part in Operation Enduring Freedom during the period from 01 January 2010 to 31 December 2011, including an analysis of causes of all ROLE 4 medical evacuations (to the military base in Germany or to the home country).
Results: As many as 565 (5.49%) of the total of 10 294 contingent soldiers were evacuated during the analyzed period. Of these, 29% of evacuation cases were due to combat injuries, 23% to complications of respiratory tract infection, 11% to mental health problems, 11% to chronic neuralgias, 12% to complications of acute gastrointestinal infections, 4% to non-combat injuries, 3% to dental and maxillofacial problems, 2% to dermatological problems and 2% to leishmaniasis. The remaining causes included chronic organic/systemic diseases manifested during service.
Conclusions: The main causes of medical evacuations to the home country were the consequences of combat injuries, mainly due to IED attacks. Appropriate diagnosis and early treatment of infections is also an important problem in the face of a significant number of complications resulting in evacuation of soldiers to their home country.