Objectives: To review the injuries resulting from the attenuated energy projectile (AEP) in patients who present to emergency departments.
Method: Review of case notes of patients presenting with injuries caused by the AEP after three episodes of serious civil disturbance in Northern Ireland from July to September 2005.
Results: 14 patients with 18 injuries were identified and included in the study. All patients were male, with an average age of 26.3 years. There were six injuries above the level of the clavicle, to the head, face or neck. There were three chest injuries, seven lower limb injuries and two upper limb injuries. There were no abdominal injuries. Seven patients required hospital admission. Five patients required surgical intervention. One patient required protective, elective intubation and one patient required the insertion of a chest drain.
Discussion: Although the study numbers were small, 33.33% of injuries were to the head and neck and 16.67% of the injuries were to the chest. The AEP was introduced as a replacement for its predecessor, the L21A1 plastic baton round, because of a theoretical risk of serious or even life threatening head injury from this projectile in certain circumstances. However, in this first survey of its usage, 50% of the injuries presenting to hospital were to the face, neck, head or chest. This injury pattern was more in keeping with older plastic baton rounds than with the L21A1.
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Competing interests: None declared.
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