Blast-Induced Traumatic Brain Injuries: Experience from the Deadliest Double Suicide Bombing Attack in Iraq

Samer S. Hoz, Zahraa F. Al-Sharshahi, Ali A. Dolachee, Ammar M. Al-Smaysim, Wamedh E. Matti, Ali Bydon, Hussein J. Kadhum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Blast-induced traumatic brain injuries (bTBIs) are increasingly frequent in civilian settings. We present the first study of individuals with bTBI in Iraq. The study focuses on one of the deadliest suicide car bomb attacks in Iraq and uses it to show the devastating nature of bTBIs. Methods: This study was conducted at the Neurosurgery Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq. A retrospective chart analysis of patients with bTBI admitted to the Neurosurgery Teaching Hospital was performed. Measured parameters included patients’ demographics, initial presentation, injury patterns, hospital course, surgical management, and outcomes. Results: A total of 75 patients with bTBI were included in this study, 19 of whom died in the emergency room. The remaining 56 patients were admitted to the hospital. Of those patients, 68.6% (n = 39) underwent surgery, and 30.4% were managed conservatively. A modified, tailored triaging system was implemented. All surgery was guided by the principles of damage control neurosurgery. In addition, 76.9% and 46.2% of patients underwent corticectomy and decompressive craniectomy, respectively. Dural venous sinus repair was performed in 17.9% of patients, and 30.7% of the operations entailed additional steps to control major (arterial) cerebrovascular bleeding. The net bTBI-related complication rate was 76%. The total mortality was 48%. Of survivors, 10.7% (n = 8) were discharged with a severe disability. Overall, good outcomes were achieved in 41.3% of the patients. Conclusions: This study sheds light on the devastating nature of bTBIs. Neurosurgeons worldwide need to be mindful of the unique triaging, diagnostic, and management requirements of these injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e192-e201
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Blast-induced traumatic brain injuries
  • Iraq
  • Neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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