“As a direct result of the efforts of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), the U.S. Congress has allocated $7.5 million in funding for the Orthopaedic Extremity Trauma Research Program (OETRP),” said Joseph C. Wenke, PhD, of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Speaking at the Extremity War Injuries II (EWI-II) symposium in January, Dr. Wenke was among the more than 110 international and domestic military and civilian orthopaedic surgeons and researchers who attended the symposium, which was co-chaired by Col. James R. Ficke, MD, and Andrew N. Pollak, MD, and jointly sponsored by the AAOS and the OTA.
The two-day symposium covered issues such as field hemostatic techniques and their overall implication on extremity wound management; early débridement; early stabilization; principles of postoperative wound management and evacuation considerations; and next steps in military course/manual/principle development.
As a follow-up to the EWI-II symposium, the 2007 AAOS Annual Meeting also featured two standing-room-only sessions and a press briefing on the progress that orthopaedists are making—and the problems they must confront—in treating extremity injuries resulting from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. (See “From Iraq—Back to Iraq: Modern orthopaedic combat care” and “A brief background of combat injuries”
AAOS support for research on extremity war injuries dates back several years. In 2004, the AAOS secured language in the fiscal year (FY) 2005 Defense Appropriations bill to make “orthopaedic extremity trauma research” one of the 21 priorities in the Peer Review Medical Research Program.
“This language was the first step in laying the foundation to work with key members of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to ensure that the need for expanded orthopaedic trauma research would be recognized and addressed in future years,” said Kathryn M. Pontzer, JD, deputy director of the AAOS office of government affairs. Since then, the AAOS has continued to successfully lobby Congress and secure funding for orthopaedic research.
A wounded soldier can be transported from the battlefield to definitive care in the United States inless than 24 hours.
The AAOS hopes to use the collaborative input from the EWI-II attendees to identify the gaps in musculoskeletal trauma research and advocate for increased federal funding for OETRP. In January 2006, the AAOS and OTA cosponsored Extremity War Injuries: State of the Art and Future Directions (EWI-I). The findings from that symposium were recently published in the Journal of the AAOS and are available online at www.jaaos.org