Editorial: “Focus on disaster and military surgery”
Though tympanic membrane perforation (TMP) is a marker of barotrauma, relation to severity of injury has been contested based on previous observations that following an explosion many victims with significant injuries do not suffer from TMP while many victims with TMP do not suffer from significant injuries. The objective of this study was to reassess the relationship of TMP to severity of injury and resource demand in patients treated in multiple casualty incidents following terrorist bombings treated in one medical center. Retrospective review. Most of the patients with TMP were mildly injured. Nevertheless, TMP was more prevalent in patients with moderate and severe injuries, 53.3 % compared to 13.6 % in mildly injured patients (p = 0.0009). Patients with TMP suffered from more body areas injured (p < 0.0001). They more often needed surgery (30.6 vs. 5.5 %; p < 0.0001), ICU hospitalization (16.1 vs. 1.3 %; p < 0.0001) and secondary transfer to a level I trauma center (12.9 vs. 1.0 %; p < 0.0001). They were hospitalized longer (p < 0.0001). Fifty-three (12.6 %) patients included in this study were not examined by the ENT service. Most of those not examined were either moderately or severely injured. Patients with TMP were more severely injured and more often needed surgery, ICU hospitalization and need for transfer to a level I trauma center. The observation that all those who died in hospital and most of those who were unstable were not examined by the ENT services suggests that impact of TMP as an indicator of severity may be underestimated.