Combined chemical and conventional injuries—pathophysiological, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects

H Berkenstadt, B Marganitt, J Atsmon
Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1991, 27 (11): 623-6
Chemical warfare (CW) agents may cause both conventional and chemical injuries. The effects of the two types of injuries may be reciprocal, leading to difficulties in assessing and treating such patients. Several aspects of the combined injury are discussed: increased exposure to CW agents following conventional trauma, owing to skin laceration or inability to use a gas mask (head, face or chest trauma); pathophysiological interactions between the two types of injuries; protection of medical personnel against CW intoxication; treatment limitations of personnel caused by their CW protection gear, when treating patients requiring urgent decontamination; and the influence of conventional trauma on the management of CW casualties. The Israel Defense Forces' recommendations for the treatment of combined injuries in a contaminated area include: a) airway maintenance, b) securing breathing and ventilation, c) circulation and hemorrhage control, d) antidote administration, e) decontamination with fuller's earth, f) dressing the wound, and g) evacuation to a noncontaminated area.

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