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Syrian Civil War: a systematic review of trauma casualty epidemiology
  1. Joshua McIntyre
  1. Army Medical Services Support Unit, Army Medical Services, Camberley, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joshua McIntyre, Army Medical Services, Camberley GU15 4NP, UK; Joshua.Mcintyre{at}


Background The Syrian Civil War has caused over 400 000 traumatic deaths. Understanding the nature of war casualties is crucial to deliver healthcare improvement. Historic regional conflicts and Syrian mortality data have been characterised by blast injuries. The aim of this novel review is to assess the trauma epidemiology of Syrian Civil War casualties from the perspective of healthcare facilities.

Methods This review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses method. Studies addressing Syria, trauma and war were investigated. Eligibility criteria included being conducted from a healthcare facility, published in English and peer reviewed. The outcomes were demography, mechanism of injury and anatomical injury site.

Results 38 papers satisfied the eligibility criteria. 13 842 casualties were reported across the entire data set. Casualties were 88.8% male (n=4035 of 4544). Children contributed to 16.1% of cases (n=398 of 2469). Mortality rate was 8.6% (n=412 of 4774). Gunshot wound was the most common mechanism of injury representing 66.3% (n=7825 of 11799). Head injury was the most common injured site at 26.6% (n=719 of 2701).

Conclusions This conflict has a distinct trauma profile compared with regional modern wars. The prevalence of gunshot wounds represents a marked change in mechanism of injury. This may be related to higher mortality rate and proportion of head injuries identified. This review cannot correlate mechanism of injury, demographics or injuries sustained to outcomes. The quality of data from the included studies lacked standardisation; future research and consistent reporting tools are required to enable further analysis.

  • trauma management
  • accident and emergency medicine
  • epidemiology

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  • Contributors The author is the sole contributor to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.

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