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Better be prepared: the spectrum of neuropsychiatric impairment among Libyan war victims transferred to Germany for trauma rehabilitation

  • Dootz, Felix1
  • von Stackelberg, Otto-Magnus2
  • Abaya, Joan3
  • Jacobi, Christian2
  • Mohs, Christoph2
  • Craemer, Eva Maria2, 4
  • Rangger, Christoph5
  • Meyding-Lamadé, Uta2, 4
  • Lamadé, Eva Kathrin3
  • 1 BG Trauma Center Ludwigshafen, University of Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany , Ludwigshafen am Rhein (Germany)
  • 2 Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt/Main, Germany , Frankfurt/Main (Germany)
  • 3 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany , Munich (Germany)
  • 4 International Institute of Medicine and Telemedicine, Frankfurt/Main, Germany , Frankfurt/Main (Germany)
  • 5 Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Optimum Orthopädie, Frankfurt/Main, Germany , Frankfurt/Main (Germany)
Published Article
Neurological Research and Practice
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jul 05, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s42466-021-00134-z
Springer Nature
  • Research Article


BackgroundThe current Libyan civil war has originated many casualties, imposing medical challenges. War injuries are complex, requiring specialized knowledge and interdisciplinary assessment for adequate patient and intercultural management.MethodsThis retrospective study analyzed records of 78 Libyan patients admitted from July 2016 to November 2017 to neurological and trauma surgical departments of Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt, Germany. Issues of system preparation of the hospital, demographics, injury patterns and therapies were analyzed. The chi-squared test was used to analyze differences in injury patterns in explosion and gunshot injuries.ResultsSeventy-seven of seventy-eight patients were male (mean age 30.6 years). The patients received primary and secondary treatment in Tunisia (n = 39), Libya (n = 36) and Turkey (n = 23). Forty-eight patients had gunshot injuries, 37 explosion injuries, 11 both. Preparation for management of injuries included hygienic and isolation protocols, organization of interpreters and intercultural training. Patients presented with a broad variety of neurological, psychiatric and trauma surgical injuries. Fifty-six patients had sensory, 47 motor deficits. Nine reported headache, 5 vertigo, 13 visual impairment, 28 psychiatric symptoms. Eighteen patients had central nervous damage, 50 peripheral nervous damage. Central nervous damage was significantly more common in gunshot than explosion injuries (p = 0.015). Peripheral nervous damage was more common in explosion than gunshot injuries (p < 0.1). Fifty-one patients had polytrauma and 49 suffered from fractures. Therapy included surgical interventions (n = 56) and physiotherapy. Structured rehabilitation programs were often indicated.ConclusionSpecialized knowledge about war injuries and their management including hospital preparation and planning regarding infrastructure may be required anytime. Injuries include a broad variety of neurological, psychiatric and trauma surgical injuries. Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach is crucial.

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