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Smaller blast, bigger problem

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In our previous blog post, “Blast off to healing,” we discussed the impact of (explosion-induced) blast injury on bone. In this post, we explore the less dramatic but far more common gunshot wound.
 
Thousands of gunshot-induced fractures occur in the US each year, and not all of them are intentional (for example,  hunting accidents). Depending on the bullet’s speed, mass and structure, gunshots can, and often do, cause high degrees of fragmentation in bone – similar to blast injuries. Even if the bone only receives a simple fracture, it is still at risk for not healing in certain patients. A study conducted by a hospital in Detroit, Michigan, showed that more than 1 in 10 patients with a fractured arm from a handgun (low-speed bullet) injury did not heal with the common mode of treatment.
 
Here in Indianapolis, we are fortunate to have two level-one trauma centers: Methodist Hospital and Eskenazi Health. Level One indicates a highly comprehensive nature of care involving physicians of diverse specialties working together with specially trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment. In spite of this, we still struggle at times to completely heal certain fractures. This drives us to search for a new bone-healing agent to bring to the clinic, and TPO is our shining hope! With support from the military and also civilians facing the violence and mishaps at home, we could soon enable more and more of those painful and disabling fractures to be successfully cured.
 
With your financial support, we hope to find answers to improve bone healing that will better fix gunshot wounds, prevent future amputations and improve quality of life through our experiments in space. If you would like to help us with our mission, please contact Georgia Sinclair Strickland for more information.
 
Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski J, Ma O, Cline DM, Cydulka RK, Meckler GD, T. eds. Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 7e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.
Randall T. Loder, Neil Farren. Injuries from firearms in hunting activities. Injury. 2014;45(8):1207-1214.
Vaidya R, et al. Civilian gunshot injuries of the humerus. Orthopedics. 2014;37(3):e307-12.
 
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Author

Carl Pinkham