Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Urological Injuries in the Civil War. (Abstract)

By H.W. Herr

This study compiles all cases of urological injuries reported in the Civil War (1861 to 1865).

Using original sources largely assembled in army surgeon reports urological injuries documented and treated during the Civil War were recorded as to frequency, type, site and outcome.

A total of 1,497 cases of injury involving the genitourinary organs were documented, representing 0.61% of all battle wounds, 22% of gunshot wounds of the abdomen and pelvis, and 47% of wounds restricted to the pelvis. Of these men 342 died (22% of all urological injuries and 37% of fatal pelvic wounds). Half of the kidney, bladder and prostate injuries were fatal, whereas men with injuries of the urethra, testes and penis generally recovered. Urethral wounds were often complicated by traumatic fistula and stricture.

Wounds involving genitourinary organs and their consequences had a significant impact during the Civil War. As the war progressed, despite the limited means at their disposal surgeons learned how to better treat devastating urological injuries, resulting in improved survival and fewer severe complications.

Image: Gemrig urology surgical instruments



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