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Rivera J.C.,San Antonio Military Medical Center
The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

The Army Physical Evaluation Board results for wounded warriors from a previously described cohort were reviewed to identify permanently disabling conditions and whether the conditions were preexisting or caused by battlefield injury. Arthritis was the most common unfitting condition in this cohort, with 94.4% of cases attributed to combat injury and only 5.6% attributed to preexisting conditions or documented in the health records prior to battle injury. The most common causes of injury that resulted in arthritis were intra-articular fractures secondary to explosions, traumatic arthrotomies resulting from fragment projectiles, and gunshot wounds. Arthritis was recognized as a disabling condition an average of 19 ± 10 months after injury. Research is needed to enhance prevention and management of joint injuries in order to minimize the disabling effects of joint degeneration in this young patient population. Source

Bedigrew K.M.,San Antonio Military Medical Center
Clinical orthopaedics and related research

Patients with severe lower extremity trauma have significant disability 2 years after injury that worsens by 7 years. Up to 15% seek late amputation. Recently, an energy-storing orthosis demonstrated improved function compared with standard orthoses; however, the effect when integrated with rehabilitation over time is unknown. (1) Does an 8-week integrated orthotic and rehabilitation initiative improve physical performance, pain, and outcomes in patients with lower extremity functional deficits or pain? (2) Is the magnitude of recovery different if enrolled more than 2 years after their injury versus earlier? (3) Does participation decrease the number considering late amputation? We prospectively evaluated 84 service members (53 less than and 31 > 2 years after injury) who enrolled in the initiative. Fifty-eight sustained fractures, 53 sustained nerve injuries with weakness, and six had arthritis (there was some overlap in the patients with fractures and nerve injuries, which resulted in a total of > 84). They completed 4 weeks of physical therapy without the orthosis followed by 4 weeks with it. Testing was conducted at Weeks 0, 4, and 8. Validated physical performance tests and patient-reported outcome surveys were used as well as questions pertaining to whether patients were considering an amputation. By 8 weeks, patients improved in all physical performance measures and all relevant patient-reported outcomes. Patients less than and greater than 2 years after injury improved similarly. Forty-one of 50 patients initially considering amputation favored limb salvage at the end of 8 weeks. We found this integrated orthotic and rehabilitation initiative improved physical performance, pain, and patient-reported outcomes in patients with severe, traumatic lower extremity deficits and that these improvements were sustained for > 2 years after injury. Efforts are underway to determine whether the Return to Run clinical pathway with the Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO) can be successfully implemented at additional military centers in patients > 2 years from injury while sustaining similar improvements in patient outcomes. The ability to translate this integrated orthotic and rehabilitation program into the civilian setting is unknown and warrants further investigation. Source

Barrera J.E.,San Antonio Military Medical Center

Objectives/Hypothesis Determine the feasibility and accuracy of using virtual surgical planning (VSP) to direct the surgical and polysomnography (PSG) outcomes of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Study Design Prospective case series. Methods Skeletal and soft tissue dimensions were measured from computed tomography (CT) to include posterior airway space (PAS) diameters at the occlusal (PAS-O) and mandibular (PAS-M) plane, position of the maxilla, and tooth-to-lip distance. All patients underwent an in-lab attended PSG whereby apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), respiratory disturbance index (RDI), and lowest oxyhemoglobin saturation percent (LSAT) were measured preoperatively and at least 9 months postoperatively. Results Four patients with OSA demonstrated a mean AHI and RDI of 60.1 and 69.5 events per hour, respectively. The mean preoperative LSAT was 76%. Mean CT-based measures for PAS-O and PAS-M were 3.08 mm and 9.03 mm, respectively. VSP was used to direct the amount of advancement and impaction in maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) surgery. The mean PAS-O and PAS-M postoperative measures significantly increased to 8.15 and 14 mm (P<.004), whereas the mean tooth-to-lip relationship stayed the same, 3.17 to 3.18, P=.98. The AHI and RDI significantly improved to 2.83 and 4.5 events per hour, respectively, P=.03, whereas the LSAT improved from 76% to 87%. Conclusions VSP for MMA in OSA patients is feasible and safe while offering improvements in the predictability of airway change and tooth-to-lip measures. © 2013 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc. Source

Ficke J.R.,San Antonio Military Medical Center
The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Since the beginning of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan more than a decade ago, much has been learned with regard to combat casualty care. Although progress has been significant, knowledge gaps still exist. The seventh Extremity War Injuries symposium, held in January 2012, reviewed the current state of knowledge and defined knowledge gaps in acute care, reconstructive care, and rehabilitative care in order to provide policymakers information on the areas in which research funding would be the most beneficial. Source

Davis J.M.,San Antonio Military Medical Center
The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Pelvic fractures were sustained by ≥26% of service members who died during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. To determine factors associated with patient mortality following combat-related pelvic fracture (CRPF), the Joint Theater Trauma Registry database was searched to identify service members who survived CRPF sustained in the year 2008 (group 1), and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System was searched to identify nonsurvivors of such trauma in the same year (group 2). Stable pelvic ring injuries were associated with a lower mortality rate than were unstable injuries when controlling for large-vessel and anatomic brain injuries (43% and 85%, respectively; P < 0.05). Associated injuries that were significant predictors of mortality included large-vessel, anatomic brain, cardiopulmonary, and solid organ abdominal (P < 0.05). Compared with a similar cohort of nonsurvivors, persons who survive CRPF have less severe pelvic fractures and associated injuries. In addition, pelvic fractures secondary to direct combat (ie, blast-related blunt injury, penetrating injury) were significantly more lethal than were those caused by mechanisms analogous to civilian trauma. Source

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