BMJ Military Health
ISSN / EISSN : 2633-3767 / 2633-3775
Published by: BMJ (10.1136)
Total articles ≅ 452
Latest articles in this journal
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001892
Introduction Military veterans are at heightened risk of problem gambling. Little is known about the costs of problem gambling and related harm among United Kingdom (UK) Armed Forces (AF) veterans. We investigated the social and economic costs of gambling among a large sample of veterans through differences in healthcare and social service resource use compared with age-matched and gender-matched non-veterans from the UK AF Veterans’ Health and Gambling Study. Methods An online survey measured sociodemographic characteristics, gambling experience and problem severity, mental health and healthcare resource utilisation. Healthcare provider, personal social service and societal costs were estimated as total adjusted mean costs and utility, with cost-consequence analysis of a single timepoint. Results Veterans in our sample had higher healthcare, social service and societal costs and lower utility. Veterans had greater contacts with the criminal justice system, received more social service benefits, had more lost work hours and greater accrued debt. A cost difference of £590 (95% CI −£1016 to −£163) was evident between veterans with scores indicating problem gambling and those reporting no problems. Costs varied by problem gambling status. Conclusions Our sample of UK AF veterans has higher healthcare, social service and societal costs than non-veterans. Veterans experiencing problem gambling are more costly but have no reduction in quality of life.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001922
This is an observational study of heat-related illness in UK Service Personnel deployed into summer conditions in Northern Kuwait and Southern Iraq. Among 622 hospitalisations reported during a 9-week period at the historical British Military Hospital, Shaibah, 303 consecutive admissions are reviewed in detail. Several clinical syndromes attributable to thermal stress were observed. These ranged from self-limiting debility to life-threatening failures of homeostasis, with 5.0% developing a critical care requirement. Hyponatraemia was a commonly occurring electrolyte disturbance by which, relative to the local reference range, a majority of heat-attributed admissions were affected. Reductions in measured serum sodium could be profound (<125 mmol/L in 20.1% of all heat-related casualties). Hypokalaemia was observed in half of cases, though only a minority were affected by severely low potassium (<2.5 mmol/L in 4.0%). Despite preventive measures prescribed on hospital discharge, illness and significant biochemical derangements could recur upon return to duties in the heat. We reiterate the need for primary prevention of heat illness wherever possible and importance of early, effective interventions to treat and protect Service Personnel from secondary injury. We also highlight the requirement for comprehensive assessment to inform prognostication and occupational decision-making in relation to extreme climatic heat, including aeromedical evacuation. We draw additional attention to the contribution of psychological factors in select cases and identify research questions to improve understanding of environment-induced incapacitation in general.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001915
Introduction Military occupations have historically been, and continue to be, male dominated. As such, female military Veteran populations tend to be understudied, and comparisons of the physical health status and patterns of health services use between male and female Veterans are limited outside of US samples. This study aimed to compare the physical health and health services use between male and female Veterans residing in Ontario, Canada. Methods A retrospective cohort of 27 058 male and 4701 female Veterans residing in Ontario whose military service ended between 1990 and 2019 was identified using routinely collected administrative healthcare data. Logistic and Poisson regression models were used to assess sex-specific differences in the prevalence of select physical health conditions and rates of health services use, after multivariable adjustment for age, region of residence, rurality, neighbourhood median income quintile, length of service in years and number of comorbidities. Results The risk of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma was higher for female Veterans compared with male Veterans. Female Veterans had a lower risk of myocardial infarction, hypertension and diabetes. No sex-specific differences were noted for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Female Veterans were also more likely to access all types of health services than male Veterans. Further, female Veterans accessed primary, specialist and emergency department care at greater rates than male Veterans. No significant differences were found in the sex-specific rates of hospitalisations or home care use. Conclusions Female Veterans residing in Ontario, Canada have different chronic health risks and engage in health services use more frequently than their male counterparts. These findings have important healthcare policy and programme planning implications, in order to ensure female Veterans have access to appropriate health services.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001911
Operation TORAL was the UK’s contribution to NATO’s Operation RESOLUTE SUPPORT in Kabul, Afghanistan. Approximately 1000 British troops were deployed in Kabul when the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan was declared. This article will describe the challenges faced due to COVID-19 in Kabul. Medical planning considerations, occupational health issues, implementation of behaviour change and operating as part of a multinational organisation are all discussed, with challenges encountered detailed and potential solutions offered. The use of a suggested framework for ensuring the medical estimate process covered all areas relevant to an emerging viral pandemic —the 4Ds and 4Cs approach—proved particularly useful in the early stages of the pandemic in Afghanistan.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001894
Introduction Transdermal fentanyl is a continuous release opioid delivery system intended for use in opioid-tolerant patients requiring around-the-clock opioid therapy. The purpose of this study is to identify the most common indications for transdermal fentanyl prescriptions in active duty US military personnel, and determine whether these prescriptions meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labelling. Methods Active duty US military personnel initiating transdermal fentanyl therapy with prescriptions filled at Military Health System pharmacies between 2015 and 2019 were identified in the Military Data Repository. Electronic health records were searched for patient demographic information, clinical information and prescription data. A total of 225 patients with complete data were identified. Results The most common reason for transdermal fentanyl initiation was chronic non-cancer musculoskeletal pain. Among patients with non-cancer pain, 36% received their initial prescription from an internal medicine/primary care provider, and 35% did not meet published US FDA criteria for opioid tolerance prior to treatment initiation. There was an 81% decrease in patients initiating therapy between 2015 and 2019. Conclusions While a substantial minority of transdermal fentanyl prescriptions to US military personnel did not meet FDA guidelines on appropriate use, the overall number of prescriptions fell dramatically over the study period. This suggests that automated profile review or additional targeted policies to limit transdermal fentanyl prescribing are unnecessary at this time.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001945
Introduction Reflex syncope is the most common subtype of syncope and, despite not being associated with increased mortality, often results in significant morbidity and costly diagnostics. Reflex syncope can be of concern for certain occupational groups and may be exacerbated by some occupations. Reflex syncope in the military is anecdotally common but the extent in the UK Armed Forces (UKAF) is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and prevalence of reflex syncope in the UKAF. Methods A retrospective search of the Defence Medical Information Capability Programme using prespecified read-codes was performed at defence primary healthcare centres over the period of 1 January 2019 to 1 January 2020. Data were obtained on 76 103 service personnel (SP) (53% of the UKAF). Results The overall syncope case rate for the UKAF was 10.5 per 1000 person-years (p-yrs). In comparing services there was a significantly increased risk of syncope in the British Army (10.7 per 1000 p-yrs) compared with the Royal Air Force (8.6 per 1000 p-yrs) (p=0.0365), SP who served overseas (16.7 per 1000 p-yrs) in comparison with UK medical centres (10.3 per 1000 p-yrs) (p<0.0001), and British Army units that regularly took part in State Ceremonial and Public Duties (15.8 per 1000 p-yrs vs 10.2 per 1000 p-yrs) (p=0.0035). Army training units conferred a significantly reduced risk of syncope (p<0.0001). Conclusions These data are the first to define the incidence and prevalence of syncope in the UKAF. Orthostasis and heat are probable triggers, although recruits are potentially protected. These data offer opportunities to improve the health and well-being of SP, with economic, logistical and reputational benefits for the UKAF. Further research to identify personnel at risk of future syncopal events may allow for targeted use of countermeasures.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001926
Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) enables temporary haemorrhage control and physiological stabilisation. This article describes the bespoke Defence Medical Services (DMS) training package for effectively using REBOA. The article covers how the course was designed, how the key learning objectives are taught, participant feedback and the authors’ perceptions of future training challenges and opportunities. Since the inaugural training course in April 2019, the authors have delivered six courses, training over 100 clinicians. For the first time in the UK DMS, we designed and delivered a robust specialist endovascular training programme, with demonstrable, significant increases in confidence and competence. As a result of this course, the first DMS REBOA-equipped forward surgical teams deployed in June 2019. Looking to the future, there is a requirement to develop an assessment of skill retention and the potential need for revalidation.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001928
Introduction The rights, roles and responsibilities of servicewomen in the UK Armed Forces has changed dramatically over time. Previously, service personnel were automatically discharged from the military if they became pregnant. As the percentage of servicewomen in the UK Armed Forces increases, having children during service is becoming more common and maternity policies are now in place. Having children during military service can impact on the health and well-being of servicewomen, including a greater risk of illness when returning to work. Methods A cross-sectional, self-report survey was used for data collection. The response rate was approximately 45%. Female Army veterans were recruited via a female military association. The survey collected data on parental status, the timing of their first child (during or after service), and several current mental and physical health and well-being outcomes. Results Of the 750 female Army veterans who completed the survey, 406 reported having children. Of those with children, 14.5% had their first child during service compared with 85.5% after service. The most frequently endorsed health outcomes were low social support, loneliness and common mental health difficulties. Participants who had their first child during military service were more likely to have left the service non-voluntarily. Conclusions This study provided insight into the impacts of having a first child during military service on servicewomen. Overall, female Army veterans who had their first child during service had poorer outcomes, including leaving service non-voluntarily. However, none of the health or well-being outcomes remained significant after adjusting the results. This study explored a widely under researched population and field of research. Future research should seek to expand on our findings and continue to explore the impacts of having a first child during military service for military mothers.
BMJ Military Health; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjmilitary-2021-001998