Neck injuries – israel defense forces 20 years' experience

Nir Tsur*, Avi Benov, Roy Nadler, Avishai M. Tsur, Yuval Glick, Irina Radomislensky, Shlomi Abuhasira, Aviram Mizrachi, Jacob Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Neck injuries are an important cause of combat mortality and morbidity. This study's objective was to examine the characteristics and causes of neck injuries among Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and emphasize the best treatment protocols for the advanced life support providers in the prehospital combat environment. Methods: The IDF Trauma Registry (IDF-TR) includes prehospital data regarding casualties treated by the IDF's medical forces. This study was a retrospective, observational study that included all casualties who were injured between January 2006 and December 2018. Results: Between January 2016 and December 2018, 3294 casualties were recorded. During the study period, 1% (41/3,394) of all injury casualties in the registry were isolated neck injuries compared to 94% (3185/3,394) without neck injury. 42% (14/41) percent of the neck casualties were classified as urgent compared to 26% (830/3185, P = 0.09) in the no neck group. The most frequent type of injury mechanism in the neck casualties was penetrating injury (54% 22/41), mostly due to shrapnel (68% 15/22). 60% of neck injured personnel were injured during the 2nd Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge in high-intensity conflicts. As for life-saving interventions, advanced airway interventions were performed in 12% of neck injured group (5/41) compared to 3% (104/3185, P = 0.02) in the no neck group. We revealed that cricothyroidotomy was performed in almost 10% (4/41) of neck injured casualties compared to only 1% (19/3185, P<0.0001) in no neck casualties. As for damage control resuscitation, neck injury casualties received higher amounts of Fresh Dried Plasma 7% (3/41) Vs. 1% (32/3185, P = 0.02) and Tranexamic acid 15% (6/41) Vs. 4% (124/3185, P = 0.01) compared to non-neck casualties. Conclusions: Military neck injuries are a significant cause of substantial disability and result in incompatibility with combat duties in previously healthy soldiers. Prompt medical care, especially urgent hemodynamic and airway management, is paramount in these injuries. Routine use of designated neck protection might lower the number of neck injuries, mitigate their severity, and even decrease mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Military
  • Neck injury
  • Trauma


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