Ballistic trauma

Ballistic trauma
Ballistic trauma
Classification and external resources

Male skull showing bullet exit wound on parietal bone, 1950s.
ICD-10 T14.1, W34, X95
ICD-9 E922.9
DiseasesDB 5480
MeSH D014948

The term ballistic trauma refers to a form of physical trauma sustained from the discharge of arms or munitions.[1] The most common forms of ballistic trauma stem from firearms used in armed conflicts, civilian sporting and recreational pursuits, and criminal activity.[2]

Contents

Destructive effects

The degree of tissue disruption caused by a projectile is related to the size of the temporary versus permanent cavity it creates as it passes through tissue.[3] The extent of cavitation, in turn, is related to the following characteristics of the projectile:

  • Kinetic energy: KE = mv2/2 (where m is mass and v is velocity). This helps to explain why wounds produced by missiles of higher mass and/or higher velocity produce greater tissue disruption than missiles of lower mass and velocity.
  • Yaw
  • Deformation
  • Fragmentation

The immediate damaging effects of the bullet are typically bleeding, and with it the potential for hypovolemic shock, an inadequate amount of blood in the circulatory system. More immediate effects can result when a bullet strikes a critical organ such as the heart or damages a component of the central nervous system such as the spine or brain. Common causes of death following gunshot injury include exsanguination, hypoxia caused by pneumothorax, heart failure and brain damage. Non-fatal gunshot wounds can result in serious disability.

Gunshot injuries can vary widely from case to case since the location of the injury can be in any part of the body, with wide variations in entry point. Also, the path and possible fragmentation of the bullet within the body is unpredictable. The study of the dynamics of bullets in gunshot injuries is called terminal ballistics.

Non-fatal gunshot wounds frequently have severe and long-lasting effects, even after the victim has made a successful recovery.[4] Typically, the consequences involve some form of major disfigurement and/or permanent disability. As a rule, all gunshot wounds are considered medical emergencies that require immediate hospital treatment.

See also

References

  1. ^ Mahoney, P. F., et al. (2004). Section 1 : Introduction, Background and Science p4
  2. ^ Mahoney, P. F., et al. (2004). The International Small Arms Situation p6
  3. ^ Wound Ballistic Research of the Past Twenty Years: A Giant Step Backwards
  4. ^ Negligent discharge page

Bibliography

  1. Mahoney, P. F. , Ryan, J., Brooks, A. J., Schwab, C. W. (2004) Ballistic Trauma – A practical guide 2nd ed. Springer:Leonard Cheshire
  2. Krug E. E., ed. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2002.
  3. World Health Organization (WHO). Small arms and global health. Paper prepared for SALW talks. Geneva: July 2001.

External links


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