Primary blast lung injury-A review

T. E. Scott, E. Kirkman, M. Haque, I. E. Gibb, P. Mahoney, J. G. Hardman

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Bomb or explosion-blast injuries are likely to be increasingly encountered as terrorist activity increases and pre-hospital medical care improves.We therefore reviewed the epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of primary blast lung injury. In addition to contemporary military publications and expert recommendation, an EMBASE and MEDLINE search of English speaking journals was undertaken using the medical subject headings (MeSHs) 'blast injury' and 'lung injury'. Review articles, retrospective case series, and controlled animal modelling studies published since 2000 were evaluated. 6-11% of military casualties in recent conflicts have suffered primary blast lung injury but the incidence increases to more than 90% in terrorist attacks occurring in enclosed spaces such as trains. The majority of victims require mechanical ventilation and intensive care management. Specific therapies do not exist and treatment is supportive utilizing current best practice. Understanding the consequences and supportive therapies available to treat primary blast lung injury are important for anaesthetists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-316
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Blast injuries
  • Explosions
  • Lung injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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