Objective To evaluate factors that are predictive of delayed abdominal closure in patients injured during military conflict.
Design, Setting, and Patients Seventy-one patients managed with an open abdomen were identified from records at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center from 2005 and 2006. Follow-up data were available from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Records were reviewed through all echelons of care. Ordinal logistic regression was used to predict delayed abdominal closure.
Results Patients sustained injury from blunt (n = 2), penetrating (n = 30), and blast (n = 39) mechanisms. The median Injury Severity Score was 25 (interquartile range, 17-34). Abdominal injury was observed in 85% of patients, and 48% underwent a massive transfusion. The median time to transfer to the United States was 5.3 days (interquartile range, 4.3-6.8 days). Abdomens were definitively closed downrange (11%), at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (33%), or at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (56%). The median time until abdominal closure was 13 days (interquartile range, 4-40 days) in 2005 compared with 4 days (interquartile range, 1-14.5 days) in 2006 (P = .02). The multivariate model identified massive transfusion (odds ratio, 3.9), presence of complications (odds ratio, 5.1), and an injury date in 2005 (odds ratio, 3.4) as independently predictive variables for later abdominal closure.
Conclusions Massive transfusion, occurrence of complications, and earlier injury date were predictive of delayed abdominal closure in casualties managed with an open abdomen. These data suggest an evolving approach to the management of severely injured combat casualties that involves earlier abdominal closure.