Army Researchers Investigating Lung Conditions of Combat Troops
Army researchers are currently seeking troops and veterans that have lung symptoms and have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan for a study on lung health. Over the years, many soldiers have returned home from duty displaying respiratory stress that has sparked concern. STAMPEDE, The Study of Active Duty Military for Pulmonary Disease Related to Environmental Deployment Exposures, is currently in the third stage of the study on how missions abroad may affect long-term lung health.
One of the goals of STAMPEDE is to determine the possible lung diseases these service members may be acquiring on their overseas missions. Some veterans have returned with asthma and other difficult ailments, but a pulmonologist, retired Army Col. Dr. Michael Morris, says diagnoses can be complicated. “We want to be able to explain to a general medical public the difference between the average citizen and the military population who may have different exposures.”
There has been previous research done on the correlation between deployment and lung problems. One of the earlier studies goes back to the Gulf War; researchers were looking for possible consequences of being exposed to oil fires in Kuwait. Another recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine included the observation of 50 participants. 40% of those displayed symptoms of reactive airways after deployment. This current study by STAMPEDE is very much like the one conducted on the 50 service members.
There are some requirements for those who wish to participate. Personnel must have been deployed during at least one of the following operations:
- Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
- Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
- Operation New Dawn (OND)
It is also a requirement that the participants possess the ability to exercise on a treadmill and have no previous lung conditions. Patients who are enrolled will go through various procedures such as blood tests, breathing tests, echocardiography, vocal cord examinations, and airway examinations. Individuals that are not active-duty, but retired or veteran, must have TRICA
There is not an explicit incentive to joining the study, but service members could possibly benefit from the discovery of the reason behind their respiratory distress. This study is extremely important because active-duty members are still being sent out to areas where burn pits, explosions, and other hazards are regularly present. The STAMPEDE research will assist physicians in better treating those who have been affected and help prepare future troops that will deploy to those areas.
Service members who wish to participate can contact STAMPEDE at San Antonio Military Medical Center – 210.916.3976 or at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland – 301.295.4191
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