Army Health Systems Doctrine and Training in Relation to Antibiotics: A Systematic Review

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Military Medicine


Introduction: In the early 2000s when Tactical Combat Casualty Care was developed, the adoption of prophylactic antibiotic use was not mainstream. Back then, guidelines were derivative of civilian trauma guidelines which did not include widespread prophylactic antibiotic use. Current protocols across the DoD have embraced the use of prophylactic antibiotic use before reaching a military treatment facility as evidenced by Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines and several Joint Trauma System Clinical Practice Guidelines.This review intends to find trends associated with the use of antibiotics in the military setting and answer the research question: Do current Army doctrine and practices address these issues and how can they be reworked to address them if needed?

Materials and methods: Methods were developed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The primary author utilized four databases to locate articles: MEDLINE (EBSCOhost), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Wiley), CINAHL Complete (EBSCOhost), and Embase (Elsevier). The following keywords were utilized: "Combat casualty," "antibiotic," "trauma," and "prehospital." This ultimately led to 19 articles included in the review.

Results: Nineteen articles were included in the final review and placed into one of the following categories: Overall antibiotic use, guideline adherence and practices, strains, and infection risk factors. Overall, the Army Health System has shown that there is room for improvement in terms of antibiotic stewardship and training regarding antibiotics.

Conclusion: Infectious diseases pose a substantial risk to combat wounded. The Army Health System must anticipate encountering challenges with delivering care to patients suffering infections in addition to serious combat injuries. A systematic review of the literature highlights several areas for improvement, primarily areas involving pathogen surveillance, treatment of pediatric populations, and the Army's operational domain of training.



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