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The Effect of Critical Task Auto-failure Criteria on Medical Evaluation Methods in the Pararescue Schoolhouse


Richardson I, Lauria MJ, Gravano B, Swenson JF, Rush S. 24(2). 67 - 71. (Journal Article)

Background: Medical training and evaluation are important for mission readiness in the pararescue career field. Because evaluation methods are not standardized, evaluation methods must align with training objectives. We propose an alternative evaluation method and discuss relevant factors when designing military medical evaluation metrics. Methods: We compared two evaluation methods, the traditional checklist (TC) method used in the pararescue apprentice course and an alternative weighted checklist (AWC) method like that used at the U.S. Army static line jumpmaster course. The AWC allows up to two minor errors, while critical task errors result in autofailure. We recorded 168 medical scenarios during two Apprentice course classes and retroactively compared the two evaluation methods. Results: Despite the possibility of auto-failure with the AWC, there was no significant difference between the two evaluation methods, and both showed similar overall pass rates (TC=50% pass, AWC=48.8% pass, p=.41). The two evaluation methods yielded the same result for 147 out of 168 scenarios (87.5%). Conclusions: The AWC method strongly emphasizes critical tasks without significantly increasing failures. It may provide additional benefits by being more closely aligned with our training objectives while providing quantifiable data for a longitudinal review of student performance.

Advancing Combat Casualty Care Statistics and Other Battlefield Care Metrics


Janak J, Kotwal RS, Howard JT, Gurney J, Eastridge BJ, Holcomb JB, Shackelford SA, De Lorenzo RA, Stewart IJ, Mazuchowski EL. 24(2). 11 - 16. (Journal Article)

Aggregate statistics can provide intra-conflict and inter-conflict mortality comparisons and trends within and between U.S. combat operations. However, capturing individual-level data to evaluate medical and non-medical factors that influence combat casualty mortality has historically proven difficult. The Department of Defense (DoD) Trauma Registry, developed as an integral component of the Joint Trauma System during recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, has amassed individual-level data that have afforded greater opportunity for a variety of analyses and comparisons. Although aggregate statistics are easily calculated and commonly used across the DoD, other issues that require consideration include the impact of individual medical interventions, non-medical factors, non-battle-injured casualties, and incomplete or missing medical data, especially for prehospital care and forward surgical team care. Needed are novel methods to address these issues in order to provide a clearer interpretation of aggregate statistics and to highlight solutions that will ultimately increase survival and eliminate preventable death on the battlefield. Although many U.S. military combat fatalities sustain injuries deemed non-survivable, survival among these casualties might be improved using primary and secondary prevention strategies that prevent injury or reduce injury severity. The current commentary proposes adjustments to traditional aggregate combat casualty care statistics by integrating statistics from the DoD Military Trauma Mortality Review process as conducted by the Joint Trauma System and Armed Forces Medical Examiner System.

Evaluation of a Rebreathing System for Use with Portable Mechanical Ventilators


Blakeman T, Smith M, Branson R. 24(2). 34 - 38. (Journal Article)

Introduction: Maximizing the capabilities of available lowflow oxygen is key to providing adequate oxygen to prevent/treat hypoxemia and conserve oxygen. We designed a closed-circuit system that allows rebreathing of gases while scrubbing carbon dioxide (CO2) in conjunction with portable mechanical ventilators in a bench model. Methods: We evaluated the system using two portable mechanical ventilators currently deployed by the Department of Defense-Zoll 731 and AutoMedx SAVe II-over a range of ventilator settings and lung models, using 1 and 3L/min low-flow oxygen into a reservoir bag. We measured peak inspired oxygen concentration (FiO2), CO2-absorbent life, gas temperature and humidity, and the effect of airway suctioning and ventilator disconnection on FiO2 on ground and at altitude. Results: FiO2 was =0.9 across all ventilator settings and altitudes using both oxygen flows. CO2-absorbent life was >7 hours. Airway humidity range was 87%-97%. Mean airway temperature was 25.4°C (SD 0.5°C). Ten-second suctioning reduced FiO2 22%-48%. Thirtysecond ventilator disconnect reduced FiO2 29%-63% depending on oxygen flow used. Conclusion: Use of a rebreathing system with mechanical ventilation has the potential for oxygen conservation but requires diligent monitoring of inspired FiO2 and CO2 to avoid negative consequences.

Emergency Fresh Whole Blood Transfusion Training for Ukrainian Health Professionals in Austere Environments


Brown ZL, Cuestas JP, Matthews KJ, Shumaker JT, Moore DW, Cole R. 24(1). 38 - 47. (Journal Article)

Background: Blood is a highly valuable medical resource that necessitates strict guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of the recipient. Since the onset of the war in Ukraine there has been an increased demand for training in emergency fresh whole blood transfusion (EFWBT) to improve damage control resuscitation capabilities. To meet this demand, we developed, implemented, and evaluated a training program aimed at enhancing Ukrainian EFWBT proficiency. Methods: Eight Ukrainian healthcare professionals (UHPs), including six physicians and two medics, completed our training, derived from the Joint Trauma System Clinical Practice Guidelines, Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Guidelines, 75th Ranger Regiment Ranger O-Low Titer (ROLO) program, and Marine Corps Valkyrie program. Participants were assessed on their confidence in the practical application and administrative oversight requirements of an EFWBT program. A cross-comparison was conducted between a larger data set of third-year medical students from the Uniformed Services University and the UHPs to determine the statistical significance of the program. Results: The difference in mean scores of UHPs during preand post-training was statistically significant (p<0.001). Additionally, the average rate of improvement was greater for the UHPs compared with the third-year medical students (p=0.000065). Conclusion: Our study revealed that the application of an EFWBT training program for UHPs can significantly increase confidence in their ability to conduct EFWBTs on the battlefield. Further larger-scale research is needed to determine the impact of this training on performance outcomes.

Derivation of a Procedural Performance Checklist for Bifemoral Veno-Venous Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Cannula Placement in Operational Environments


Powell E, Betzold R, Kundi R, Anderson D, Haase D, Keville M, Galvagno S. 24(1). 32 - 37. (Journal Article)

Background: Veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV ECMO) is a low-frequency, high-intensity procedure used for severe lung illness or injury to facilitate rapid correction of hypoxemia and respiratory acidosis. This technology is more portable and extracorporeal support is more frequently performed outside of the hospital. Future conflicts may require prolonged causality care and more specialized critical care capabilities including VV ECMO to improve patient outcomes. We used an expert consensus survey based on a developed bifemoral VV ECMO cannulation checklist with an operational focus to establish a standard for training, validation testing, and sustainment. Methods: A 36-item procedural checklist was provided to 14 experts from multiple specialties. Using the modified Delphi method, the checklist was serially modified based on expert feedback. Results: Three rounds of the study were performed, resulting in a final 32-item checklist. Each item on the checklist received at least 70% expert agreement on its inclusion in the final checklist. Conclusion: A procedural performance checklist was created for bifemoral VV ECMO using the modified Delphi method. This is an objective tool to assist procedural training and validation for medical providers performing VV ECMO in austere environments.

Development and Implementation of a Standard Operating Procedure for Military Working Dog Blood Collection, Storage, and Transport


Evernham EL, Fedeles BT, Knuf K. 24(1). 28 - 30. (Journal Article)

Military working canines are critical assets and force multipliers for the Joint Force. Most often deployed forward of Role 2 assets, they are reliant on non-veterinary resources when wounded, ill, or injured in an operational environment. Hemorrhagic shock is the most prevalent form of shock seen in battlefield injuries and is most effectively treated with whole blood transfusion. Dogs cannot be transfused with human blood and there is no formal Department of Defense (DoD) canine blood product distribution system to operational settings. A walking blood bank is helpful when multiple dogs are geographically co-located and the resource can be provided to an injured patient quickly. In areas as widely dispersed as the Horn of Africa, the likelihood of co-location is slim and delaying this vital resource can mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, personnel at the Role 2 facility in Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, filled a critical capability gap for the operational area by producing a local canine whole blood bank with distribution to multiple countries. This protocol can be replicated by other locations to improve medical readiness for the working canines who serve to maintain DoD Force Protection.

Effectiveness of Sternal Intraosseous Device in Patients Presenting with Circulatory Shock: A Retrospective Observational Study


Hynes A, Murali S, Bass GA, Kheirbek T, Qasim Z, George N, Yelon JA, Chreiman KC, Martin ND, Cannon JW. 23(4). 81 - 86. (Journal Article)

Background: Hemorrhagic shock requires timely administration of blood products and resuscitative adjuncts through multiple access sites. Intraosseous (IO) devices offer an alternative to intravenous (IV) access as recommended by the massive hemorrhage, A-airway, R-respiratory, C-circulation, and H-hypothermia (MARCH) algorithm of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC). However, venous injuries proximal to the site of IO access may complicate resuscitative attempts. Sternal IO access represents an alternative pioneered by military personnel. However, its effectiveness in patients with shock is supported by limited evidence. We conducted a pilot study of two sternal-IO devices to investigate the efficacy of sternal-IO access in civilian trauma care. Methods: A retrospective review (October 2020 to June 2021) involving injured patients receiving either a TALON® or a FAST1® sternal-IO device was performed at a large urban quaternary academic medical center. Baseline demographics, injury characteristics, vascular access sites, blood products and medications administered, and outcomes were analyzed. The primary outcome was a successful sternal-IO attempt. Results: Nine males with gunshot wounds transported to the hospital by police were included in this study. Eight patients were pulseless on arrival, and one became pulseless shortly thereafter. Seven (78%) sternal-IO placements were successful, including six TALON devices and one of the three FAST1 devices, as FAST1 placement required attention to Operator positioning following resuscitative thoracotomy. Three patients achieved return of spontaneous circulation, two proceeded to the operating room, but none survived to discharge. Conclusions: Sternal-IO access was successful in nearly 80% of attempts. The indications for sternal-IO placement among civilians require further evaluation compared with IV and extremity IO access.

Bluetooth Tactical Headsets Improve The Speed of Accurate Patient Handoffs


Stinner D, McEvoy C, Broussard MA, Nikolaus AD, Parker CH, Santana H, Karnopp JM, Patel JA. 23(4). 75 - 80. (Journal Article)

Background: The Committee on En Route Combat Casualty Care recently ranked the patient handoff as their fourth research priority. Bluetooth technology has been introduced to the battlefield and has the potential to improve the tactical patient handoff. The purpose of this study is to compare the traditional methods of communication used in tactical medical evacuation by Special Operations medical personnel (radio push-to-talk [PTT] and Tactical Medic Intercom System [TM-ICS]) to Bluetooth communication. Methods: Twenty-four simulated tactical patient handoffs were performed to compare Bluetooth and traditional methods of communication used in tactical medical evacuation. Patient scenario order and method of communication were randomized. Accuracy and time required to complete the patient handoff were determined. The study took place using a rotary-wing aircraft kept at level 2 to simulate real-world background noise. Preferred method of communication for each study participant was determined. Results: There were no differences in accuracy of the received patient handoffs between groups or patient handoff transmission times at the ramp of the aircraft. However, when comparing patient handoff times to the medical team within the aircraft, Bluetooth communication was significantly faster than both TM-ICS and radio PTT, while Bluetooth PTT and radio PTT were also significantly faster than TM-ICS. Bluetooth communication was ranked as the preferred method of handoff by all study participants. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that utilization of Bluetooth technology for patient handover results in faster handoffs compared with traditional methods without sacrificing any accuracy in a scenario with high levels of noise.

Optimizing Brain Health of United States Special Operations Forces


Edlow BL, Gilmore N, Tromly SL, Deary KB, McKinney IR, Hu CG, Kelemen JN, Maffei C, Tseng CJ, Llorden GR, Healy BC, Masood M, Cali RJ, Baxter T, Yao EF, Belanger HG, Benjamini D, Basser PJ, Priemer DS, Kimberly WT, Polimeni JR, Rosen BR, Fischl B, Zurcher NR, Greve DN, Hooker JM, Huang SY, Caruso A, Smith GA, Szymanski TG, Perl DP, Dams-O'Connor K, Mac Donald CL, Bodien YG. 23(4). 47 - 56. (Journal Article)

United States Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel are frequently exposed to explosive blasts in training and combat. However, the effects of repeated blast exposure on the human brain are incompletely understood. Moreover, there is currently no diagnostic test to detect repeated blast brain injury (rBBI). In this "Human Performance Optimization" article, we discuss how the development and implementation of a reliable diagnostic test for rBBI has the potential to promote SOF brain health, combat readiness, and quality of life.

Phosphorus Burn Management with Multimodal Analgesia


Saint-jean L, Corcostegui S, Galant J, Derkenne C. 23(3). 82 - 84. (Case Reports)

We report the case of a patient suffering from a chemical burn caused by white phosphorus, for whom initial management required decontamination using multimodal analgesia. This case report should be familiar to other military emergency physicians and Tactical Emergency Medical Support for two reasons: 1) A phosphorus burn occurs from a chemical agent rarely encountered, with minimal research available in the medical literature, despite the use of this weapon in the recent Ukrainian conflict, and 2) We discuss the use of multimodal analgesia, combining loco-regional anesthesia (LRA) and an intranasal pathway, which can be used in a remote and austere environment.

Pain Control and Point-of-Care Ultrasound: An Approach to Rib Fractures for the Austere Provider


Snyder R, Brillhart DB. 23(3). 70 - 73. (Journal Article)

Rib fractures are common injuries that cause significant discomfort and can lead to severe pulmonary complications. Rib injury most often results from high-velocity traumatic mechanisms, while rarely representing underlying metastatic disease or secondary injury due to pulmonary illness. Because most rib fractures are caused by obvious trauma, algorithms are focused on treatment rather than investigating the exact mechanism of rib fractures. Chest radiographs are often the initial imaging performed but have proven to be unreliable in identification of rib fracture. Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic option as it is more sensitive and specific than simple radiographs. However, both modalities are generally unavailable to Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical personnel working in austere locations. These medical providers could potentially diagnose and treat rib fractures in any environment using a standardized approach that includes clarity of mechanism, pain relief, and point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). This case demonstrates an approach to the diagnosis and treatment of a rib fracture in a 47-year-old male who presented to a military treatment facility with unlocalized flank and back pain, but the methods employed have applicability to the austere provider working far from the resources of a medical center.

Slow Intravenous Infusion of a Novel Damage Control Cocktail Decreases Blood Loss in a Pig Polytrauma Model


White N, Asato C, Wenthe A, Wang X, Ringgold K, St. John A, Han CY, Bennett JC, Stern SA. 23(3). 50 - 57. (Journal Article)

Background: Our objective was to optimize a novel damage control resuscitation (DCR) cocktail composed of hydroxyethyl starch, vasopressin, and fibrinogen concentrate for the polytraumatized casualty. We hypothesized that slow intravenous infusion of the DCR cocktail in a pig polytrauma model would decrease internal hemorrhage and improve survival compared with bolus administration. Methods: We induced polytrauma, including traumatic brain injury (TBI), femoral fracture, hemorrhagic shock, and free bleeding from aortic tear injury, in 18 farm pigs. The DCR cocktail consisted of 6% hydroxyethyl starch in Ringer's lactate solution (14mL/kg), vasopressin (0.8U/kg), and fibrinogen concentrate (100mg/kg) in a total fluid volume of 20mL/kg that was either divided in half and given as two boluses separated by 30 minutes as control or given as a continuous slow infusion over 60 minutes. Nine animals were studied per group and monitored for up to 3 hours. Outcomes included internal blood loss, survival, hemodynamics, lactate concentration, and organ blood flow obtained by colored microsphere injection. Results: Mean internal blood loss was significantly decreased by 11.1mL/kg with infusion compared with the bolus group (p = .038). Survival to 3 hours was 80% with infusion and 40% with bolus, which was not statistically different (Kaplan Meier log-rank test, p = .17). Overall blood pressure was increased (p < .001), and blood lactate concentration was decreased (p < .001) with infusion compared with bolus. There were no differences in organ blood flow (p > .09). Conclusion: Controlled infusion of a novel DCR cocktail decreased hemorrhage and improved resuscitation in this polytrauma model compared with bolus. The rate of infusion of intravenous fluids should be considered as an important aspect of DCR.

The Impact of Special Operations Medics and Corpsmen on Military Medical Student Training: A Qualitative Study


Wagner R, Cole R, Thompson J, Egan SJ, VanShufflin MW, Tilley L. 23(2). 78 - 81. (Journal Article)

Operation Gunpowder is a high-fidelity military medical field practicum conducted by the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. During this multi-day combat simulation, Special Operations Medics and Corpsmen teach military medical students how to treat patients in an austere, resource-limited environment. To investigate the effectiveness of this teaching model, our research team used a qualitative phenomenological design to explore medical students' experiences being taught by Special Operations Medics and Corpsmen during Operation Gunpowder. We found two themes regarding the medical students' personal and professional development: an increased understanding of medics' skills and capabilities and the realization of their future roles as educators and leaders. Our study suggests that the use of Special Operations Corpsmen and Medics in medical student training is a valuable model for both military and civilian medical education and training

Prevalence of Trauma-Induced Hypocalcemia in the Prehospital Setting


Brandt M, Liccardi C, Heidle J, Woods TD, White C, Mullins JR, Blackwell J, Le L, Brantley K. 23(2). 44 - 48. (Journal Article)

Background: Recent data published by the Special Operations community suggest the Lethal Triad of Trauma should be changed to the Lethal Diamond, to include coagulopathy, acidosis, hypothermia, and hypocalcemia. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of trauma-induced hypocalcemia in level I and II trauma patients. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study conducted at a level I trauma center and Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) training site. Adult patients were identified via trauma services registry from September 2021 to April 2022. Patients who received blood products prior to emergency department (ED) arrival were excluded from the study. Ionized calcium levels were utilized in this study. Results: Of the 408 patients screened, 370 were included in the final analysis of this cohort. Hypocalcemia was noted in 189 (51%) patients, with severe hypocalcemia identified in two (<1%) patients. Thirty-two (11.2%) patients had elevated international normalized ratio (INR), 34 (23%) patients had pH <7.36, 21 (8%) patients had elevated lactic acid, and 9 (2.5%) patients had a temperature of <35°C. Conclusion: Hypocalcemia was prevalent in half of the trauma patients in this cohort. The administration of a calcium supplement empirically in trauma patients from the prehospital environment and prior to blood transfusion is not recommended until further data prove it beneficial.

Risk of Harm in Needle Decompression for Tension Pneumothorax


Thompson P, Ciaraglia A, Handspiker E, Bjerkvig C, Bynum JA, Glassberg E, Gurney J, Hudson AJ, Jenkins DH, Nicholson SE, Strandenes G, Braverman MA. 23(2). 9 - 12. (Journal Article)

Introduction: Tension pneumothorax (TPX) is the third most common cause of preventable death in trauma. Needle decompression at the fifth intercostal space at anterior axillary line (5th ICS AAL) is recommended by Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) with an 83-mm needle catheter unit (NCU). We sought to determine the risk of cardiac injury at this site. Methods: Institutional data sets from two trauma centers were queried for 200 patients with CT chest. Inclusion criteria include body mass index of =30 and age 18-40 years. Measurements were taken at 2nd ICS mid clavicular line (MCL), 5th ICS AAL and distance from the skin to pericardium at 5th ICS AAL. Groups were compared using Mann-Whitney U and chi-squared tests. Results: The median age was 27 years with median BMI of 23.8 kg/m2. The cohort was 69.5% male. Mean chest wall thickness at 2nd ICS MCL was 38-mm (interquartile range (IQR) 32-45). At 5th ICS AAL, the median chest wall thickness was 30-mm (IQR 21-40) and the distance from skin to pericardium was 66-mm (IQR 54-79). Conclusion: The distance from skin to pericardium for 75% of patients falls within the length of the recommended needle catheter unit (83-mm). The current TCCC recommendation to "hub" the 83mm needle catheter unit has potential risk of cardiac injury.

Effectiveness of and Adherence to Triage Algorithms During Prehospital Response to Mass Casualty Incidents


Kamler JJ, Taube S, Koch EJ, Lauria MJ, Kue RC, Rush SC. 23(1). 59 - 66. (Journal Article)

Mass casualty incidents (MCIs) can rapidly exhaust available resources and demand the prioritization of medical response efforts and materials. Principles of triage (i.e., sorting) from the 18th century have evolved into a number of modern-day triage algorithms designed to systematically train responders managing these chaotic events. We reviewed reports and studies of MCIs to determine the use and efficacy of triage algorithms. Despite efforts to standardize MCI responses and improve the triage process, studies and recent experience demonstrate that these methods have limited accuracy and are infrequently used.

The Effect of Prehospital Blood Transfusion on Patient Body Temperature from the Time of Emergency Medical Services Transfusion to Arrival at the Emergency Department


Mannion E, Pirrallo RG, Dix A, Estes L. 23(1). 46 - 53. (Journal Article)

Background: Transfusion of blood products is life-saving and time-sensitive in the setting of acute blood-loss anemia, and is increasingly common in the emergency medical services (EMS) setting. Prehospital blood products are generally "cold-stored" at 4°C, then warmed with a portable fluid-warming system for the purpose of preventing the "lethal triad" of hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy. This study aims to evaluate body temperature changes of EMS patients receiving packed red blood cells (PRBC) and/or fresh frozen plasma (FFP) when using the LifeWarmer Quantum Blood & Fluid Warming System (LifeWarmer, https://www.lifewarmer.com/). Methods: From 1 January 2020 to 31 August 2021, patients who qualified for and received PRBC and/or FFP were retrospectively reviewed. Body-temperature homeostasis pre- and post-transfusion were evaluated with attention given to those who arrived to the emergency department (ED) hypothermic (<36°C). Results: For all 69 patients analyzed, the mean initial prehospital temperature (°C) was 36.5 ± 1.0, and the mean initial ED temperature was 36.7 ± 0.6, demonstrating no statically significant change in value pre- or post-transfusion (0.2 ± 0.8, p = .09). Shock index showed a statistically significant decrease following transfusion: 1.5 ± 0.5 to 0.9 ± 0.4 (p < .001). Conclusion: Use of the Quantum prevents the previously identified risk of hypothermia with respect to unwarmed prehospital transfusions. The data is favorable in that body temperature did not decrease in critically ill patients receiving cold-stored blood warmed during administration with the Quantum.

iTClamp-Mediated Wound Closure Speeds Control of Arterial Hemorrhage With or Without Additional Hemostatic Agents


Stuart SM, Bohan ML, Mclean JB, Walchak AC, Friedrich EE. 22(4). 87 - 92. (Journal Article)

Background: Exsanguination is the leading cause of preventable posttraumatic death, especially in the prehospital arena. Traditional hemorrhage control methods involve packing the wound with hemostatic agents, providing manual pressure, and then applying a pressure dressing to stabilize the treatment. This is a lengthy process that frequently destabilizes upon patient transport. Conversely, the iTClamp, a compact wound closure device, is designed to rapidly seal wound edges mechanically, expediting clot formation at the site of injury. Objectives: To determine the efficacy of the iTClamp with and without wound packing in the control of a lethal junction hemorrhage. Methods: Given the limited available information regarding the efficacy of the iTClamp in conjunction with traditional hemostatic agents, this study used a swine model of severe junctional hemorrhage. The goal was to compare a multiagent strategy using the iTClamp in conjunction with XSTAT to the traditional method of Combat Gauze packing with pressure dressing application. Readouts include application time, blood loss, and rebleed occurrence. Results: Mean application times of the iTClamp treatment alone or in conjunction with other hemostatic agents were at least 75% faster than the application time of Combat Gauze with pressure dressing. Percent blood loss was not significantly different between groups but trended the highest for Combat Gauze treated swine, followed by iTClamp plus XSTAT, iTClamp alone and finally iTClamp plus Combat Gauze. Conclusion: The results from this study demonstrate that the iTClamp can be effectively utilized in conjunction with hemostatic packing to control junctional hemorrhages.

Airway and Hypothermia Prevention: and Treatment via STEAM The System for Thermogenic Emergency Airway Management


Stevens R, Pierce B, Tilley L. 22(4). 72 - 76. (Journal Article)

Military medicine has made significant advancements in decreasing mortality by addressing the lethal triad - metabolic acidosis, coagulopathy, and hypothermia. However, casualties are still succumbing to injury. Recent conflict zones have led to the development of remarkable life-saving innovations, including the management of compressible hemorrhage and whole blood transfusions. Nevertheless, hypothermia prevention and treatment techniques remain relatively unchanged. Hypothermia prevention is anticipated to become more critical in future operations due to a predicted increase in evacuation times and reliance on Prolonged Casualty Care (PCC). This is likely secondary to increasingly distanced battlespaces and the mobility challenges of operating in semi-/non-permissive environments. Innovation is essential to combat this threat via active airway rewarming in the vulnerable patient. Thus, we propose the development, fabrication, and efficacy testing of a device in which we estimate being able to control temperature and humidity at physiologic levels in the PCC setting and beyond.

An Exploratory Comparison of Water-Tamped and -Untamped Explosive Breaches: Practical Applications for the Tactical Community via a Pilot Study


Kamimori GH, McQuiggan W, Ramos AN, LaValle CR, Misistia A, Salib J, Egnoto MJ. 22(4). 56 - 59. (Journal Article)

Background: Tamping explosive charges used by breachers is an increasingly common technique. The ability to increase the directional effectiveness of the charge used, combined with the potential to reduce experienced overpressure on breachers, makes tamping a desirable tool not only from an efficacy standpoint for breachers but also from a safety standpoint for operational personnel. The long-term consequences of blast exposure are an open question and may be associated with temporary performance deficits and negative health symptomatology. Purpose: This work evaluates breaches of varying charge weight, material breached, and tamping device used to determine the value of tamping during various scenarios by measuring actual breaches conducted during military and law enforcement training for efficacy and blast overpressure on Operators. Methods: Three data collections across 18 charges of various construction were evaluated with blast overpressure sensors at various distances and locations where breachers would be located, to assess explosive forces on human personnel engaged in breaching activities. Results and Conclusions: Findings indicate that water tamping in general is a benefit on moderate and heavy charges but offers less benefit at a low charge with regard to mitigating blast overpressure on breachers. Reduced overpressure allows Operators to stage closer to explosives and lowers the potential for compromised reaction time. It also reduces the likelihood of negative consequences that can result from excessive overpressure exposure and allow Operators to "do more with less" in complex environments, where resource access may be limited by logistic or other limitations. However, tamping in all instances improved blast efficacy in creating successful breaches. Future studies are planned to investigate tamping mediums beyond water and environment changes, whether tamping can be used to mitigate acoustic insult, and other explosive types.

Does Mental and Visual Skills Training Improve High-Value Target Identification and Marksmanship Among Elite Soldiers?


Dawes JJ, Tramel W, Bartley N, Bricker D, Werth-Bailey K, Brodine L, Clark C, Goldberg P, Pagel K, Federico T, Bullinger D, Canada DM. 22(4). 22 - 25. (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this preliminary investigation was to determine the impact of a mental and visual skills training (MVST) program on a high-value target identification and marksmanship (HVTM) task among Special Operations Forces (SOF) Soldiers. Methods: Deidentified archival data for 52 male SOF Operators (age: 31.06 ± 4.10 years) were assessed to determine if differences in performance existed between MVST program users (n = 15) and nonusers (n = 37) on a HVTM task performed immediately after a Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat (SFAUC) stress shoot. Independent-samples t-tests were utilized to determine if significant mean score differences existed between groups on specific shooting elements within the HVTM task. Effect size calculations were also performed to assess the magnitude of differences between groups in each measure of performance. Results: Statistically significant differences in performance were not discovered between MVST users and nonusers on overall score (Score) or any individual elements of the HVTM task. However, small to medium effect sizes (d = 0.305-0.493) were observed between groups in Score, Positive Identification Accuracy, Shot Accuracy, and Kill Shot Score. Conclusion: While inconclusive, these findings suggest the use of a MVST program administered by a trained cognitive performance specialist may have the potential to positively influence HVTM performance. More research using larger sample sizes is required to confirm this supposition.

Edith Nourse Rogers: A Pioneer for Women, Military Veterans, and US Medical Education


Bellaire CP, Ditzel RM, Meade ZS, Love ZD, Appel JM. 22(3). 62 - 64. (Journal Article)

This year is the 80th anniversary of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. The passage of this seminal legislation - sponsored by Edith Nourse Rogers - formalized the role of women in the US military and compensated them for their service and in the event of injury or illness. Rogers was a pioneer in her own right. A trailblazer for women and a staunch advocate for military veterans' healthcare, Rogers was forged by her wartime experiences. The authors describe Rogers' contributions as a congresswoman during World War II and during her 35 years of public service in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Rogers was foundational to the modern US healthcare system.

Active Warfighter Resilience: A Descriptive Analysis


Barczak-Scarboro NE, Cole WR, DeFreese JD, Fredrickson BL, Kiefer AW, Bailar-Heath M, Burke RJ, DeLellis SM, Kane SF, Lynch JH, Means GE, Depenbrock PJ, Mihalik JP. 22(3). 22 - 28. (Journal Article)

Purpose: Our aim in this study was to psychometrically test resilience assessments (Ego Resiliency Scale [ER89], Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale [CD-RISC 25], Responses to Stressful Experiences Scale [RSES short-form]) and describe resilience levels in a Special Operations Forces (SOF) combat sample. Methods: Fifty-eight SOF combat Servicemembers either entering SOF (career start; n = 38) or having served multiple years with their SOF organization (mid-career; n = 20) self-reported resilience, mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) history, and total military service. Results: All resilience metrics demonstrated acceptable internal consistency, but ceiling effects were found for CD-RISC and RSES scores. ER89 scores were moderate on average. ER89 scores were higher in SOF career start than mid-career Servicemembers (ηρ2 = 0.07) when accounting for the interaction between SOF career stage and total military service (ηρ2 = 0.07). Discussion: SOF mid-career Servicemembers had similar ER89 resilience scores with more total military service. The SOF career start combat Servicemembers had higher ER89 measured resilience with less total military service only, potentially showing a protective effect of greater service before entering SOF. Conclusion: The ER89 may be a more optimal military resilience metric than the other metrics studied; longitudinal research on SOF combat Servicemember resilience is warranted.

Operation Blood Rain Phase 2: Evaluating the Effect of Airdrop on Fresh and Stored Whole Blood


Fuentes RW, Shawler EK, Smith WD, Tong RL, Barnes WJ, Moncada M, Bohlke CW, Mitchell AL. 22(3). 9 - 14. (Journal Article)

Background: Transfusion of whole blood (WB) is a lifesaving treatment that prolongs life until definitive surgical intervention can be performed; however, collecting WB is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Furthermore, it may be difficult to collect sufficient WB at the point of injury to treat critically wounded patients or multiple hemorrhaging casualties. This study is a follow-up to the proof-of-concept study on the effect of airdrop on WB. In addition, this study confirms the statistical significance for the plausibility of using airdrop to deliver WB to combat medics treating casualties in the pre-hospital setting when Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved cold-stored blood products are not available. Methods: Forty-eight units of WB were collected and loaded into a blood cooler that was dropped from a fixed-wing aircraft under a Standard Airdrop Training Bundle (SATB) parachute or 68-in pilot chute. Twenty-four of these units were dropped from a C-145 aircraft, and 24 were dropped from a C-130 aircraft. A control group of 15 units of WB was storedin a blood cooler that was not dropped. Baseline and post-intervention laboratory tests were measured in both airdroppedand control units, including complete blood count; prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time (PT/PTT); pH, lactate, potassium, bilirubin, glucose, fibrinogen, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels; and peripheral blood smears. Results: The blood cooler, cooling packs, and all 48 WB units did not sustain any major damage from the airdrop. There was no evidence of hemolysis. Except for the one slightly damaged bag that was not sampled, all airdropped blood met parameters for transfusion per the Joint Trauma System Whole Blood Transfusion Clinical Practice Guideline and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies (AABB) Circular of Information for the Use of Human Blood and Blood Components. Conclusions: Airdrop of fresh or stored WB in a blood cooler with a chute is a viable way of delivering blood products to combat medics treating hemorrhaging patients in the pre-hospital setting. This study also demonstrated the portability of this technique for multiple aircraft. The techniques evaluated in this study have the potential for utilizationin other austere settings such as wilderness medicine or humanitarian disasters where an acute need for WB delivery by airdrop is the only option.

Mechanical Ventilation: A Review for Special Operations Medical Personnel


Friedman J, Assar SM. 22(2). 97 - 102. (Journal Article)

Mechanical ventilation is machine-delivered flow of gases to both oxygenate and ventilate a patient who is unable to maintain physiological gas exchange, and positive-pressure ventilation (PPV) is the primary means of delivering invasive mechanical ventilation. The authors review invasive mechanical ventilation to give the Special Operations Force (SOF) medic a comprehensive conceptual understanding of a core application of critical care medicine.

Airway Management With Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation


Papalski W, Siedler J, Callaway DW. 22(2). 93 - 96. (Journal Article)

Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation (NPPV) is a form of ventilatory support that does not require the placement of an advanced airway. The authors discuss the use of NPPV on patients who will likely benefit. The use of NPPV has reduced the need for patients to require intubation and/or mechanical ventilation in some cases, as well as benefits.

Analgesia and Sedation in the Prehospital Setting: A Critical Care Viewpoint


DesRosiers TT, Anderson JL, Adams B, Carver RA. 22(2). 48 - 54. (Journal Article)

Pain is one of the most common complaints of battlefield casualties, and unique considerations apply in the tactical environment when managing the pain of wounded service members. The resource constraints commonly experienced in an operational setting, plus the likelihood of prolonged casualty care by medics or corpsmen on future battlefields, necessitates a review of analgesia and sedation in the prehospital setting. Four clinical scenarios highlight the spectrum of analgesia and sedation that may be necessary in this prehospital and/or austere environment.

Development of a Swine Polytrauma Model in the Absence of Fluid Resuscitation


Abdou H, Patel N, Edwards J, Richmond MJ, Elansary N, Du J, Poliner D, Morrison JJ. 21(4). 77 - 82. (Journal Article)

Background: In locations in which access to resuscitative therapy may be limited, treating polytraumatized patients present a challenge. There is a pressing need for adjuncts that can be delivered in these settings. To assess these adjuncts, a model representative of this clinical scenario is necessary. We aimed to develop a hemorrhage and polytrauma model in the absence of fluid resuscitation. Materials and Methods: This study consisted of two parts: pulmonary contusion dose-finding (n = 6) and polytrauma with evaluation of varying hemorrhage volumes (n = 6). We applied three, six, or nine nonpenetrating captive bolt-gun discharges to the dose-finding group and obtained computed tomography (CT) images. We segmented images to assess contusion volumes. We subjected the second group to tibial fracture, pulmonary contusion, and controlled hemorrhage of 20%, 30%, or 40% and observed for 3 hours or until death. We used Kaplan-Meier analysis to assess survival. We also assessed hemodynamic and metabolic parameters. Results: Contusion volumes for three, six, and nine nonpenetrating captive bolt-gun discharges were 24 ± 28, 50 ± 31, and 63 ± 77 cm3, respectively (p = .679). Animals receiving at least six discharges suffered concomitant parenchymal laceration, whereas one of two swine subjected to three discharges had lacerations. Mortality was 100% at 12 and 115 minutes in the 40% and 30% hemorrhage groups, respectively, and 50% at 3 hours in the 20% group. Conclusion: This study characterizes a titratable hemorrhage and polytrauma model in the absence of fluid resuscitation. This model can be useful in evaluating resuscitative adjuncts that can be delivered in areas remote to healthcare access.

Efficacy of Vancomycin Powder in Mitigating Infection of Open Penetrating Trauma Wounds on the Battlefield: An Evidence-Based Review


TerBeek BR, Loos PE, Pekari TB, Tennent DJ. 22(1). 76 - 80. (Journal Article)

Background: Open penetrating trauma wounds to the extremities remain the most common injuries encountered in combat and are frequently complicated by bacterial infections. These infections place a heavy burden on the Servicemember and the healthcare system as they often require multiple additional procedures and can frequently cause substantial debility. Previous studies have shown that vancomycin powder has demonstrated efficacy in decreasing infection risks in clean and contaminated orthopedic surgical wounds. Methods: This review evaluates the most prevalent organisms cultured post-trauma, the current Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines for antibiotic prophylaxis, and relevant research of vancomycin's prophylactic use. Results: Results from previous studies have shown a time-dependent reduction in bacterial load when vancomycin powder is introduced early post injury in traumatic orthopedic wounds. Furthermore, perioperative application affords a cost-effective method to prevent infection with minimal adverse effects. Discussion: The current TCCC guidelines advocate for the use of antibiotics at the point of injury. When vancomycin powder is used in synergy with these guidelines, it can contribute a timely and powerful antibiotic to prevent infection. Conclusion: The prophylactic use of vancomycin powder is a promising adjunctive agent to current Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG), but it cannot be conclusively determined to be effective without further research into its application in traumatic combat wounds.

Feasibility of Obtaining Intraosseous and Intravenous Access Using Night Vision Goggle Focusing Adaptors


Iteen A, Koch EJ, Wojahn A, Gutierrez R, Hildreth A, Rudinsky S, Deaton TG, Zarow GJ. 22(1). 56 - 63. (Journal Article)

Background: The optimal tactical lighting for performing medical procedures under low-light conditions is unclear. Methods: United States Navy medical personnel (N = 23) performed intravenous (IV) and intraosseous (IO) procedures on mannequins using a tactical headlamp, night vision goggles (NVGs), and night vision goggles with focusing adaptors (NVG+A) utilizing a randomized within-subjects design. Procedure success, time to completion, and user preferences were analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and nonparametric statistics at p < .05. Results: IV success rates were significantly greater for the headlamp (74%) than for NVG (35%; p < .03) and somewhat greater than for NVG+A (52%; p = .18). IO success rates were high under each lighting condition (96% to 100%). Time to completion was significantly faster using headlamp (IV, 106 ± 28 s; IO, 47 ± 11 s) than NVG (IV, 168 ± 80 s; IO, 56 ± 17 s) or NVG-A (IV, 157 ± 52 s; IO, 59 ± 27 s; each p < .01). Posttesting confidence on a 1-to-5 scale was somewhat higher for NVG+A (IV, 2.9 ± 0.2; IO, 4.2 ± 0.2) than for NVG (IV, 2.6 ± 0.2; IO, 4.0 ± 0.2). Participants cited concerns with NVG+A depth perception and with adjusting the adaptors, and that the adaptors were not integrated into the NVG. Conclusion: While this mannequin study was limited by laboratory conditions and by the lack of practice opportunities, we found some small advantages of focusing adaptors over NVG alone but not over headlamp for IV and IO access in low-light conditions.

Emergency Medical Services Provider Self-Reported Occupational Safety


Luk JH, Chang BF, Albus ML, Morgan SA, Szymanski TJ, Hamid OS, Keller L, Daher AF, Sheele JM. 21(4). 66 - 70. (Journal Article)

Background: Emergency medical services (EMS) providers are at high risk for occupational violence, and some tactical EMS providers carry weapons. Methods: Anonymous surveys were administered to tactical and nontactical prehospital providers at 180 prehospital agencies in northeast Ohio between September 2018 and March 2019. Demographics were collected, and survey questions asked about workplace violence and comfort level with tactical EMS carrying weapons. Results: Of 432 respondents, 404 EMS providers (94%) reported a history of verbal or physical assault on scene, and 395 (91%) reported working in a setting with a direct active threat at least rarely. Of those reporting a history of assault on scene, 46.5% reported that it occurred at least sometimes. Higher rates of assault on scene were associated with being younger, white, or an emergency medical technician-paramedic, working in an urban environment, having more frequent direct active threats, and having more comfort with tactical EMS carrying firearms (p ≤ .03). Most respondents (306; 71%) reported that they were prepared to defend themselves from someone who originally called for help. Most (303; 70%) reported a comfort level of 8 or higher (from 1, not comfortable to 10, completely comfortable) with tactical EMS providers carrying weapons. Comfort with tactical EMS providers carrying weapons was associated with being white, not having a bachelor's degree, and feeling prepared to defend oneself from a patient (p ≤ .02). Conclusion: EMS providers in the survey report high rates of verbal and physical violence while on scene and are comfortable with tactical EMS providers carrying weapons.

Use of Topical Hemostatic Dressings in an Extended Field Care Model


Welch M, Barratt J, Peters A, Wright C. 21(4). 63 - 65. (Journal Article)

Background: We sought to test whether Celox topical hemostatic dressing (Medtrade Products) would maintain hemostasis in extended use. Methods: An anesthetized swine underwent bilateral arteriotomies and treatment with topical hemostatic dressings in line with the Kheirabadi method. The dressings were covered with standard field dressings, and these were visually inspected for bleeding every 2 hours until 8 hours, when the swine was euthanized. Results: There was no evidence of rebleeding at any point up to and including 8 hours. The Celox dressings maintained hemostasis in extended use. Conclusion: Celox topical hemostatic dressing is effective for extended use and maintains hemostasis. It should be considered for use in situations in which evacuation and definitive care may be delayed.

Comprehensive Ultrasound Course for Special Operations Combat and Tactical Medics


Fatima H, Kuppalli S, Baribeau V, Wong VT, Chaudhary O, Sharkey A, Bordlee JW, Leibowitz A, Murugappan K, Pannu A, Rubenstein LA, Walsh DP, Kunze LJ, Stiles JK, Weinstein J, Mahmood F, Matyal R, Lodico DN, Mitchell J. 21(4). 54 - 61. (Journal Article)

Background: Advances in ultrasound technology with enhanced portability and high-quality imaging has led to a surge in its use on the battlefield by nonphysician providers. However, there is a consistent need for comprehensive and standardized ultrasound training to improve ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding of nonphysician providers. Materials and Methods: Our team designed a multimodal ultrasound course to improve ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding of nine Special Operations combat medics and Special Operations tactical medics. The course was based on a flipped classroom model with a total time of 43 hours, consisting of an online component followed by live lectures and hands-on workshops. The effectiveness of the course was determined using a knowledge exam, expert ratings of manual skills using a global rating scale, and an objective structured clinical skills examination (OSCE). Results: The average knowledge exam score of the medics increased from pre-course (56% ± 6.8%) to post-course (80% ± 5.0%, p < .001). Based on expert ratings, their manual skills improved from baseline to day 4 of the course for image finding (p = .007), image optimization (p = .008), image acquisition speed (p = .008), final image quality (p = .008), and global assessment (p = .008). Their average score at every OSCE station was > 91%. Conclusion: A comprehensive multimodal training program can be used to improve military medics' ultrasound knowledge, manual skills, and workflow understanding for various applications of ultrasound. Further research is required to develop a reliable, sustainable course.

Impact of a 10,000-m Cold-Water Swim on Norwegian Naval Special Forces Recruits


Melau J, Hisdal J, Solberg PA. 21(3). 55 - 59. (Journal Article)

Background: Special Operation Forces (SOF) operate regularly in extreme environmental conditions that may affect tactical and physical performance. The main aims of the present study were to elucidate the impact of a long cold-water swim on SOF recruits' dexterity, performance, and reaction time. Material and Methods: Eleven recruits from Norwegian Naval Special Operation Command (NORNAVSOC) that were participating in a 10,000-m open water swim with a dry suit in 5°C cold water volunteered to participate in this study. The exercise was part of their training. Grip strength, lower body power, and dexterity were measured before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the swim. In addition, core and skin temperatures were measured continuously during the swim and until 45 minutes after the swim. Results: After the swim, moderate to large reductions in core temperature, lower body power, and reaction time were observed. Moreover, very large to extremely large reductions in skin temperature, grip strength, and dexterity were also observed. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that exposure to a 10,000-m swim in 5°C water using standard equipment led to a significant drop in the recruits' temperature and performance. These findings could have a meaningful impact on the planning of training, operations, and gear used for SOF.

Blood Product Administration During Transport Throughout the US Africa Command Theater of Operation


Schauer SG, Naylor JF, Fisher AD, Hyams DG, Carius BM, Escandon MA, Linscomb CD, McDonald H, Cap AP, Bynum J. 21(3). 66 - 70. (Journal Article)

Background: United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) is one of six US Defense Department's geographic combatant commands and is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for military relations with African nations, the African Union, and African regional security organizations. A full-spectrum combatant command, US AFRICOM is responsible for all US Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. We seek to characterize blood product administration within AFRICOM using the in-transit visibility tracking tool known as TRAC2ES (TRANSCOM Regulating and Command & Control Evacuation System). Methods: We performed a retrospective review of TRAC2ES medical evacuations from the AFRICOM theater of operations conducted between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2018. Results: During this time, there were 963 cases recorded in TRAC2ES originating within AFRICOM, of which 10 (1%) cases received blood products. All patients were males. One was a Department of State employee, one was a military working dog, and the remainder were military personnel. Of the ten humans, seven were the result of trauma, most by way of gunshot wound, and three were due to medical causes. Among human subjects receiving blood products for traumatic injuries, a total of 5 units of type O negative whole blood, 29 units of packed red blood cells (pRBCs), and 9 units of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were transfused. No subjects underwent massive transfusion of blood products, and only one subject received pRBCs and FFP in 1:1 fashion. All subjects survived until evacuation. Conclusions: Within the TRAC2ES database, blood product administration within AFRICOM was infrequent, with some cases highlighting lack of access to adequate blood products. Furthermore, the limitations within this database highlight the need for systems designed to capture medical care performance improvement, as this database is not designed to support such analyses. A mandate for performance improvement within AFRICOM that is similar to that of the US Central Command would be beneficial if major improvements are to occur.

Timeline of Psychological and Physiological Effects Occurring During Military Deployment on a Medical Team


Hall AB, Qureshi I, Wilson RL, Glasser JJ. 21(3). 118 - 122. (Journal Article)

Background: The negative effects of deployment on military mental health is a topic of major interest. Predeployment and postdeployment assessments are common, but to date there has been little to no intradeployment assessment of military members. This study attempts to determine the physiological and psychiatric effects on Servicemembers over the course of deployment, to provide a baseline data set and to allow for better prediction, prevention, and intervention on these negative effects. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on physiological and psychiatric data collected on a single deployed medical team between 16 January 2020 and 12 July 2020. Patient health screening questionnaires (PHQ-9) and physiological measurements were completed serially twice weekly on five active-duty military volunteers for the entirety of a scheduled 6-month deployment. Results: Depression symptom development followed a linear trend (p = .0149) and severity followed a quadratic trend (p < .001) over a length of a deployment. Weight (p = .435) and pulse (p = .416) were not statistically altered. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) had a statistically significant reduction (p < .001). Conclusion: In this specific population, there was a linear relationship between time deployed and depression symptoms and severity. Depression symptom severity decreases toward the end of deployment but does not return to baseline before deployment's end.

Case Report of Infectious Myositis in the Austere Setting


Sarkisian S, Sletten ZJ, Roberts P, Powell T. 21(2). 80 - 84. (Journal Article)

Although skin and soft tissue infections are common in the deployed setting, infectious myositis is relatively uncommon. Bacterial infection of the muscle is the most common infectious etiology and can result in a spectrum of disease, to include abscess formation to necrotizing myositis, toxic shock syndrome, and death. Diagnosis can be elusive, particularly in the early stages. Recognition and proper management are crucial to prevent complications. The authors present a case report of infectious myositis diagnosed and managed in an austere deployed environment, as well as a discussion regarding current recommendations on diagnosis and treatment.

23.4% Hypertonic Saline: A Tactical Option for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury With Impending or Ongoing Herniation


DeSoucy ES, Cacic K, Staak BP, Petersen CD, van Wyck D, Rajajee V, Dorsch J, Rush SC. 21(2). 25 - 28. (Journal Article)

There are limited options available to the combat medic for management of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with impending or ongoing herniation. Current pararescue and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines prescribe a bolus of 3% or 5% hypertonic saline. However, this fluid bears a tactical burden of weight (~570g) and pack volume (~500cm3). Thus, 23.4% hypertonic saline is an attractive option, because it has a lighter weight (80g) and pack volume (55cm3), and it provides a similar osmotic load per dose. Current literature supports the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline in the management of acute TBI, and evidence indicates that it is safe to administer via peripheral and intraosseous cannulas. Current combat medic TBI treatment algorithms should be updated to include the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline as an alternative to 3% and 5% solutions, given its effectiveness and tactical advantages.

Autopsy-Determined Atherosclerosis in Elite US Military Special Operations Forces


Kotwal RS, Mazuchowski EL, Howard JT, Hanak JC, Harcke HT, Gurney JM, Shackelford SA. 21(2). 19 - 24. (Journal Article)

Background: Autopsy studies of trauma fatalities have provided evidence for the pervasiveness of atherosclerosis in young and middle-aged adults. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of atherosclerosis in elite US military forces. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) fatalities from 2001 to 2020 who died from battle injuries. Autopsies were evaluated from Afghanistan- and Iraq-centric combat operations for evidence of coronary and/or aortic atherosclerosis and categorized as minimal (fatty streaking only), moderate (10-49% narrowing of ≥1 vessel), and severe (≥50% narrowing of ≥1 vessel). Prevalence of atherosclerosis was determined for the total population and by subgroup characteristics of age, sex, race/ethnicity, combat operation, service command, occupation, rank, cause of death, manner of death, and body mass index (BMI). Results: From the total of 388 USSOCOM battle injury fatalities, 356 were included in the analysis. The mean age was 31 years (range, 19-57 years), and 98.6% were male. The overall prevalence of coronary and/or aortic atherosclerosis was 17.4%. The prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis alone was 13.8%. Coronary atherosclerosis was categorized as minimal in 1.1%, moderate in 7.6%, and severe in 5.1%. Of those with atherosclerosis, 24.2% were <30 years old, 88.7% were from enlisted ranks, and 95.2% had combatant occupations. When BMI could be calculated, 73.5% of fatalities with atherosclerosis had a BMI =25. Conclusions: Autopsy-determined atherosclerosis is prevalent in elite US military Special Operations Forces despite young age and positive lifestyle benefits of service in an elite military unit.

Secondary Traumatic Stress in Emergency Services Systems (STRESS) Project: Quantifying Personal Trauma Profiles for Secondary Stress Syndromes in Emergency Medical Services Personnel With Prior Military Service


Renkiewicz GK, Hubble MW. 21(1). 55 - 64. (Journal Article)

Background: EMS personnel are often exposed to traumatic material during their duties. It is unknown how prior military experience affects the presence of stress in EMS personnel. Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study. Nine EMS agencies provided data on call mix, while individuals were recruited during training evolutions. The survey evaluated sociodemographic factors and the relationship between childhood trauma and previous military service using the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire, Life Events Checklist DSM-5, and Military History Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics calculated personal trauma profiles, comparing civilian EMS personnel to those with prior service. Hierarchical linear regression assessed the predictive utility of military history to scores on the Impact of Events Scale-Revised. Results: A total of 765 EMS personnel participated in the study; 52.8% were male, 11.4% were minorities, and 11.6% had prior military service. A total of 64.4% of civilian EMS providers had any stress syndrome, while that number was 71.8% in those with prior military service. Hierarchical linear regression identified that years of service and the performance of combat patrols or other dangerous duty accounted for a unique criterion variance in the regression model. Conclusions: Prior military service or combat deployments alone do not contribute to the presence of stress syndromes. However, performance of combat patrols or other dangerous duties while deployed was a contributing factor. These results must be interpreted holistically, as other factors contribute to the presence of vicarious trauma (VT) in EMS personnel who are also veterans.

Conversion of the Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet (AAJT) to Infrarenal Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) Is Practical in a Swine Hemorrhage Model


Stigall K, Blough PE, Rall JM, Kauvar DS. 21(1). 30 - 36. (Journal Article)

Background: Two methods of controlling pelvic and inguinal hemorrhage are the Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet (AAJT; Compression Works) and resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA). The AAJT can be applied quickly, but prolonged use may damage the bowel, inhibit ventilation, and obstruct surgical access. REBOA requires technical proficiency but avoids many of the complications associated with the AAJT. Conversion of the AAJT to REBOA would allow for field hemorrhage control with mitigation of the morbidity associated with prolonged AAJT use. Methods: Yorkshire male swine (n = 17; 70-90kg) underwent controlled 40% hemorrhage. Subsequently, AAJT was placed on the abdomen, midline, 2cm superior to the ilium, and inflated. After 1 hour, the animals were allocated to an additional 30 minutes of AAJT inflation (continuous AAJT occlusion [CAO]), REBOA placement with the AAJT inflated (overlapping aortic occlusion [OAO]), or REBOA placement following AAJT removal (sequential aortic occlusion [SAO]). Following removal, animals were observed for 3.5 hours. Results: No statistically significant differences in survival, blood pressure, or laboratory values were found following intervention. Conversion to REBOA was successful in all animals but one in the OAO group. REBOA placement time was 4.3 ± 2.9 minutes for OAO and 4.1 ± 1.8 minutes for SAO (p = .909). No animal had observable intestinal injury. Conclusions: Conversion of the AAJT to infrarenal REBOA is practical and effective, but access may be difficult while the AAJT is applied.

Performance Characteristics of Fluid Warming Technology in Austere Environments


Blakeman T, Fowler J, Branson R, Petro M, Rodriquez D. 21(1). 18 - 24. (Journal Article)

Resuscitation of the critically ill or injured is a significant and complex task in any setting, often complicated by environmental influences. Hypothermia is one of the components of the "Triad of Death" in trauma patients. Devices for warming IV fluids in the austere environment must be small and portable, able to operate on battery power, warm fluids to normal body temperature (37°C), and perform under various conditions, including at altitude. The authors evaluated four portable fluid warmers that are currently fielded or have potential for use in military environments.

An Analysis and Comparison of Prehospital Trauma Care Provided by Medical Officers and Medics on the Battlefield


Fisher AD, Naylor JF, April MD, Thompson D, Kotwal RS, Schauer SG. 20(4). 53 - 59. (Journal Article)

Background: Role 1 care represents all aspects of prehospital care on the battlefield. Recent conflicts and military operations conducted on behalf of the Global War on Terrorism have resulted in medical officers (MOs) being used nondoctrinally on combat missions. We are seeking to describe Role 1 trauma care provided by MOs and compare this care to that provided by medics. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of previously described data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry and the Department of Defense Trauma Registry from April 2003 through May 2019. Encounters were categorized by type of care provider (MO or medic). If both were documented, they were categorized as MO; those without either were excluded. Descriptive statistics were used. Results: A total of 826 casualty encounters met inclusion criteria. There were 418 encounters categorized as MO (57 with MO, 361 with MO and medic), and 408 encounters categorized as medic only. The composite injury severity score (median, interquartile range) was higher for casualties treated by the medic cohort (9, 3.5-17) than for the MO cohort (5, 2-9.5; P = .006). There was no difference in survival to discharge between the MO and medic groups (98.6% vs. 95.6%; P = .226). More life-saving interventions were performed by MOs compared to medics. MOs demonstrated a higher rate of vital sign documentation than medics. Conclusion: More than half of casualty encounters in this study listed an MO in the chain of care. The difference in proportion of interventions highlights differences in provider skills, training and equipment, or that interventions were dictated by differences in mechanisms of injury.

Case Series on 2g Tranexamic Acid Flush From the 75th Ranger Regiment Casualty Database


Androski CP, Bianchi W, Robinson DL, Zarow GJ, Moore CH, Deaton TG, Drew B, Gonzalez S, Knight RM. 20(4). 85 - 91. (Journal Article)

Early tranexamic acid (TXA) administration for resuscitation of critically injured warfighters provides a mortality benefit. The 2019 Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) recommendations of a 1g drip over 10 minutes, followed by 1g drip over 8 hours, is intended to limit potential TXA side effects, including hypotension, seizures, and anaphylaxis. However, this slow and cumbersome TXA infusion protocol is difficult to execute in the tactical care environment. Additionally, the side effect cautions derive from studies of elderly or cardiothoracic surgery patients, not young healthy warfighters. Therefore, the 75th Ranger Regiment developed and implemented a 2g intravenous or intraosseous (IV/IO) TXA flush protocol. We report on the first six cases of this protocol in the history of the Regiment. After-action reports (AARs) revealed no incidences of post-TXA hypotension, seizures, or anaphylaxis. Combined, the results of this case series are encouraging and provide a foundation for larger studies to fully determine the safety of the novel 2g IV/IO TXA flush protocol toward preserving the lives of traumatically injured warfighters.

Life and Limb In-Flight Surgical Intervention: Fifteen Years of Experience by Joint Medical Augmentation Unit Surgical Resuscitation Teams


DuBose JJ, Stinner DJ, Baudek A, Martens D, Donham B, Cuthrell M, Stephens T, Schofield J, Conklin CC, Telian S. 20(4). 47 - 52. (Journal Article)

Background: Expedient resuscitation and emergent damage control interventions remain critical tools of modern combat casualty care. Although fortunately rare, the requirement for life and limb salvaging surgical intervention prior to arrival at traditional deployed medical treatment facilities may be required for the care of select casualties. The optimal employment of a surgical resuscitation team (SRT) may afford life and limb salvage in these unique situations. Methods: Fifteen years of after-action reports (AARs) from a highly specialized SRTs were reviewed. Patient demographics, specific details of encounter, team role, advanced emergent life and limb interventions, and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Data from 317 casualties (312 human, five canines) over 15 years were reviewed. Among human casualties, 20 had no signs of life at intercept, with only one (5%) surviving to reach a Military Treatment Facility (MTF). Among the 292 casualties with signs of life at intercept, SRTs were employed in a variety of roles, including MTF augmentation (48.6%), as a transport capability from other aeromedical platforms, critical care transport (CCT) between MTFs (27.7%), or as an in-flight damage control capability directly to point of injury (POI) (18.2%). In the context of these roles, the SRT performed in-flight life and limb preserving surgery for nine patients. Procedures performed included resuscitative thoracotomy (7/9; 77.8%), damage control laparotomy (1/9; 11.1%) and extremity fasciotomy for acute lower extremity compartment syndrome (1/11; 11%). Survival following in-flight resuscitative thoracotomy was 33% (1/3) when signs of life (SOL) were absent at intercept and 75% (3/4) among patients who lost SOL during transport. Conclusion: In-flight surgery by a specifically trained and experienced SRT can salvage life and limb for casualties of major combat injury. Additional research is required to determine optimal SRT utilization in present and future conflicts.

Management of Critically Injured Burn Patients During an Open Ocean Parachute Rescue Mission


Staak BP, DeSoucy ES, Petersen CD, Smith J, Hartman M, Rush SC. 20(3). 135 - 140. (Journal Article)

Best practices and training for prolonged field care (PFC) are evolving. The New York Pararescue Team has used part task training, cadaver labs, clinical rotations, and a complicated sim lab to prepare for PFC missions including critical care. This report details an Atlantic Ocean nighttime parachute insertion to provide advanced burn care to two sailors with 50% and 60% body surface area burns. Medical mission planning included pack-out of ventilators, video laryngoscopes, medications, and 50 L of lactated Ringer's (LR). Over the course of 37 hours, the patients required high-volume resuscitation, analgesia, wound care, escharotomies, advanced airway and ventilator management, continuous sedation, telemedicine consultation, and complicated patient movement during evacuation. A debrief survey was obtained from the Operators highlighting recommendation for more clinical rotations and labs, missionspecific pack-outs, and tactical adjustments. This historic mission represents the most sophisticated PFC ever performed by PJs and serves to validate and share our approach to PFC.

Ketamine Administration by Special Operations Medical Personnel During Training Mishaps


Fisher AD, Schwartz DS, Petersen CD, Meyer SE, Thielemann JN, Redman TT, Rush SC. 20(3). 81 - 86. (Journal Article)

Background: Opioids can have adverse effects on casualties in hemorrhagic shock. In 2014, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) recommended the use of ketamine at the point of injury (POI). Despite these recommendations the adherence is moderate at best. Poor use may stem from a lack of access to use ketamine during training. The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is often in a unique position, they maintain narcotics for use during all training events and operations. The goal of this work is to demonstrate that ketamine is safe and effective in both training and operational environments. Methods: This was a retrospective, observational performance improvement project within United States Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command that included the US Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and US Air Force Pararescue. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate the doses per administration to include the interquartile range (IQR), standard deviation (SD) and the range of likely doses using a 95% confidence interval (CI). A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare the mean pre-ketamine pain scores to the mean post-ketamine on a 0-to-10 pain scale. Results: From July 2010 to October 2017, there was a total of 34 patients; all were male. A total of 22 (64.7%) received intravenous ketamine and 12 (35.3%) received intramuscular ketamine and 8 (23.5%) received intranasal ketamine. The mean number of ketamine doses via all routes administered to patients was 1.88 (SD 1.094) and the mean total dose of all ketamine administration was 90.29mg (95% CI, 70.09-110.49). The mean initial dose of all ketamine administration was 47.35mg (95% CI, 38.52-56.18). The median preketamine pain scale for casualties was noted to be 8.0 (IQR 3) and the median post-ketamine pain scale was 0.0 (IQR 3). Conclusion: Ketamine appears to be safe and effective for use during military training accidents. Military units should consider allowing their medics to carry and use as needed.

Far Forward Gaps in Hemorrhagic Shock and Prolonged Field Care: An Update of ALM Fluid Therapy for Field Use


Dobson GP, Letson HL. 20(3). 128 - 134. (Journal Article)

Future expeditionary missions are expected to occur in more remote austere environments where combat medics and casualties may have to wait up to 7 days before resupply or safe evacuation. Currently, there is no effective fluid therapy for hemorrhagic shock (HS) at the point-of-injury and continuum-of-care over this extended period. We have been developing a small-volume IV or IO ALM therapy for noncompressible HS and have shown in preclinical models that it extends survival to 3 days, reduces abdominal bleeding by 60%, blunts inflammation, corrects coagulopathy, preserves platelet function, and prevents immunodeficiency. The ALM-survival phenotype is associated with an upregulation of the master genes of metabolism and mitochrondrial biogenesis in heart and brain and a downregulation in the periphery. Future translational studies will investigate the timing and nature of the "switch" and extend survival to 7 days. We will also discuss some of the controversies of ALM resuscitation in pigs, present our Systems Hypothesis of Trauma (SHOT), and discuss future clinical safety trials before field use.

Temporizing Life-Threatening Abdominal-Pelvic Hemorrhage Using Proprietary Devices, Manual Pressure, or a Single Knee: An Integrative Review of Proximal External Aortic Compression and Even "Knee BOA"


O'Dochartaigh D, Picard CT, Brindley PG, Douma MJ. 20(2). 110 - 114. (Journal Article)

Introduction: Abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage (i.e., originates below the diaphragm and above the inguinal ligaments) is a major cause of death. It has diverse etiology but is typically associated with gunshot or stab wounds, high force or velocity blunt trauma, aortic rupture, and peripartum bleeds. Because there are few immediately deployable, temporizing measures, and the standard approaches such as direct pressure, hemostatics, and tourniquets are less reliable than they are with compressible extremity injuries, risk for death resulting from abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage is high. This review concerns the exciting potential of proximal external aortic compression (PEAC) as a temporizing technique for life-threatening lower abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage. PEAC can be accomplished by means of a device, two locked arms (manual), or a single knee (genicular) to press over the midline supra-umbilical abdomen. The goal is to compress the descending aorta and slow or halt downstream hemorrhage while not delaying more definitive measures such as hemostatic packing, tourniquets, endovascular balloons, and ultimately operative repair. Methods: Clinical review of the Ovid MEDLINE, In-Process, & Other Non-Indexed, and Google Scholar databases was performed for the period ranging from 1946 to 3 May 2019 for studies that included the following search terms: [proximal] external aortic compression OR vena cava compression AND (abdomen or pelvis) OR (hemorrhage) OR (emergency or trauma). In addition, references from included studies were assessed. Conclusion: Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Evidence was grouped and summarized from the specialties of trauma, aortic surgery, and obstetrics to help prehospital responders and guide much-needed additional research, with the goal of decreasing the high risk for death after life-threatening abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage.

Clothing Effects on Limb Tourniquet Application


Wall PL, Buising CM, Hingtgen E, Smith H, Renner CH. 20(2). 83 - 94. (Journal Article)

Background: Sometimes tourniquets are applied over clothing. This study explored clothing effects on pressures and application process. Methods: Generation 7 Combat Application Tourniquets (C-A-T7), Generation 3 SOF® Tactical Tourniquets-Wide (SOFTTW), Tactical Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets (Tac RMT), and Stretch Wrap And Tuck Tourniquets (SWATT) were used with different clothing conditions (Bare, Scrubs, Uniform, Tights) mid-thigh and on models (ballistic gel and yoga mats). Results: Clothing affected pressure responses to controlled force applications (weight hangs, n=5 thighs and models, nonlinear curve fitting, p < .05). On models, clothing affected secured pressures by altering surface interactions (medians: Gel Bare C-A-T7 247mmHg, SOFTTW 99mmHg, Tac RMT 101mmHg versus Gel Clothing C-A-T7 331mmHg, SOFTTW 170mmHg, Tac RMT 148mmHg; Mats Bare C-A-T7 246mmHg, SOFTTW 121mmHg, Tac RMT 99mmHg versus Mats Clothing C-A-T7 278mmHg, SOFTTW 145mmHg, Tac RMT 138mmHg). On thighs, clothing did not significantly influence secured pressures (n=15 kneeling appliers, n=15 standing appliers) or occlusion and completion pressures (n=15). Eleven of 15 appliers reported securing on clothing as most difficult. Fourteen of 15 reported complete applications on clothing as most difficult. Conclusions: Clothing will not necessarily affect tourniquet pressures. Surface to tourniquet interactions affect the ease of strap sliding, so concern should still exist as to whether applications over clothing are dislodged in a distal direction more easily than applications on skin.

Step Duration Effects on Blood Loss in Simulated Designs of Tourniquet Use Procedure


Kragh JF, Aden JK, Dubick MA. 20(2). 76 - 82. (Journal Article)

Background: We sought new knowledge by further developing a model of using calculations in the simulation of a first-aid task. The purpose of this study was to develop the model to investigate the performance of tourniquet use in its component steps. Methods: We aimed to design an experiment on a desktop computer by mathematically manipulating simulated data in tourniquet use. A time factor of tourniquet use was ranged widely through time challenges in five degrees from ideal to worst performances. Redesigning the task was assessed by time costs and blood losses. Results: The step of tourniquet application took 17% of the trial time and securing the tourniquet after bleeding control took the longest amount of the trial time, 31%. A minority of the time (48% [17% + 31%] to apply tourniquet plus secure it) was spent after the tourniquet touched the patient, whereas most of the time (52%) was spent before the tourniquet touched the patient. The step of tourniquet application lost 14% of the total blood lost, whereas no blood was lost during securing the tourniquet, because that was the moment of bleeding control despite securing the tourniquet taking much time (31%). Most (86%) of blood lost occurred before the tourniquet touched the patient. But blood losses differed 10-fold, with a maximum of 2,434mL, which, when added to a pretask indication blood loss of 177mL, summed to 2,611mL. Before redesigning the task, costs of donning gloves and calling 9-1-1 included uncontrolled bleeding, but gloving mitigated risk of spreading pathogens among people. By step and person, redesigns of the task altered the risk-benefit profile. Conclusions: The model was useful because it simulated where most of the bleeding occurred before the tourniquet touched the patient. Modeling simulated redesigns of the task, which showed changes in the task's risk-benefit profile by step and among persons. The model generated hypotheses for future research, including the capability to screen candidate ideas among task designs.

Expression of High Mobility Group Box 1 Protein in a Polytrauma Model During Ground Transport and Simulated High-Altitude Evacuation


Choi JH, Roberts TR, Sieck K, Harea GT, Karaliou V, Wendorff DS, Beely BM, Cancio LC, Sams VG, Batchinsky AI. 20(1). 65 - 70. (Journal Article)

Background: We investigated the expression of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein in a combat-relevant polytrauma/ acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) model. We hypothesized that systemic HMGB1 expression is increased after injury and during aeromedical evacuation (AE) at altitude. Methods: Female Yorkshire swine (n =15) were anesthetized and cannulated with a 23Fr dual-lumen catheter. Venovenous extracorporeal life support (VV ECLS) was initiated via the right jugular vein and carried out with animals uninjured on day 1 and injured by bilateral pulmonary contusion on day 2. On both days, animals underwent transport and simulated AE. Systemic HMGB1 expression was measured in plasma by ELISA. Plasma-free Hb (pfHb) was measured with the use of spectrophotometric methods. Results: Plasma HMGB1 on day 1 was transiently higher at arrival to the AE chambers, increased significantly after injury, reaching highest values at 8,000 ft on day 2, after which levels decreased but remained elevated versus baseline at each time point. pfHb decreased on day 1 at 30,000 ft and significantly increased on day 2 at 8,000 ft and postflight. Conclusions: Systemic HMGB1 demonstrated sustained elevation after trauma and altitude transport and may provide a useful monitoring capability during en route care.

Freeze Dried Plasma Administration Within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry


Cuenca CM, Chamy G, Schauer SG. 20(1). 43 - 45. (Journal Article)

Hemorrhage is common among the combat injured, and plasma plays a vital role in blood product resuscitation. Regarding freeze dried plasma (FDP), US forces have had limited access to this product compared with other countries. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration provided emergency authorization for Department of Defense (DoD) use through the newly congressionally directed military use pathway. We describe the documented uses of FDP by US forces by performing a secondary analysis of two previously described datasets from the DoD Trauma Registry. In 11 identified cases, the median age was 28; cases were most frequently male, part of Operation Enduring Freedom, with US military affiliation, and injured by explosive or gunshot wound. The median injury severity score was 21; most did not receive a massive transfusion. Most survived to hospital discharge. Ongoing surveillance is warranted to optimize the implementation of FDP into military prehospital guidelines, training, and doctrine.

An Inventory of the Combat Medics' Aid Bag


Schauer SG, Naylor JF, Uhaa N, April MD, De Lorenzo RA. 20(1). 61 - 64. (Journal Article)

Introduction: Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) recommends life-saving interventions; however, these interventions can only be implemented if military prehospital providers carry the necessary equipment to the injured casualty. Combat medics primarily use aid bags to transport medical materiels forward on the battlefield. We seek to assess combat medic materiel preparedness to employ TCCC-recommended interventions by inventorying active duty, combat medic aid bags. Methods: We sought combat medics organic to combat arms units stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Medics volunteered to complete a demographic worksheet and have the contents of their aid bag photographed and inventoried. We spoke with medic unit leadership prior to their participation and asked that the medics bring their aid bags in the way they would pack for a combat mission. We categorized medic aid bag contents in the following manner: (1) hemorrhage control; (2) airway management; (3) pneumothorax treatment, or (4) volume resuscitation. We compared the items found in the aid bags against the contemporary TCCC guidelines. Results: In January 2019, we prospectively inventoried 44 combat medic aid bags. Most of the medics were male (86%), in the grade of E4 (64%), and had no deployment experience (64%). More medics carried a commercial aid bag (55%) than used the standard issue M9 medical bag (45%). Overall, the most frequently carried medical device was an NPA (93%). Overall, 91% of medics carried at least one limb tourniquet, 2% carried a junctional tourniquet, 31% carried a supraglottic airway (SGA), 64% carried a cricothyrotomy setup/kit, 75% carried a chest seal, and 75% carried intravenous (IV) fluid. The most commonly stocked limb tourniquet was the C-A-T (88%), the airway kit was the H&H cricothyrotomy kit (38%), the chest injury set were prepackaged needle decompression kits (81%), and normal saline was the most frequently carried fluid (47%). Most medics carried a heating blanket (54%). Conclusions: Most medics carried materiels that address the common causes of preventable death on the battlefield. However, most materiels stowed in aid bags were not TCCC-preferred items. Moreover, there was a small subset of medics who were not prepared to handle the major causes of death on the battlefield based on the current state of their aid bag.

Prehospital Whole Blood in SOF: Current Use and Future Directions


Jones TB, Moore VL, Shishido AA. 19(4). 88 - 90. (Journal Article)

The US Joint Trauma System (JTS) recommends stored whole blood (SWB) as the preferred product for prehospital resuscitation of battlefield casualties in both their Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines and their clinical practice guidelines (CPGs). Clinical data from nearly 2 decades of war during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) suggest that whole blood (WB) is safe, effective, and far superior to crystalloid and colloid resuscitation fluids. The JTS CPG for whole blood transfusion reflects the most recent clinical evidence but poses unique challenges for execution by Special Operations Forces (SOF) operating in austere environments. Given the limited shelf-life of 35 days, WB requires a constant steady pool of donors. Additionally, the cold-chain requirement for storage poses challenges for SOF on long missions without access to blood refrigerators. SOF operating in less-developed theaters face additional logistical challenges. To mitigate the challenges of WB delivery, US SOF have implemented various protocols to ensure optimal donor pool, awareness/education among medics and specialized equipment for tactical methods of blood-carry and delivery. In general, steps taken include the following: (1) Prior to deployment, soldiers are screened for blood type and titers in order to establish a large donor pool. Support soldiers have been found to be particularly beneficial donors as they typically are in closer proximity to the blood support detachment. (2) In units that operate in smaller teams, such as ODAs, medics are outfitted with "blood kits" to carry blood on missions for point of injury transfusion. In units with larger teams, LTOWB donors are identified on missions and deliver fresh WB in the event of casualties. (3) Medics receive a WB transfusion refresher tabletop exercise and review after action reviews from previous rotations. Additionally, prehospital WB delivery is a required component of scenario-based premission training. The expectation is that medics will administer WB on missions when tactically feasible. Using the prolonged field care framework (ruck, truck, house) as a template, medics now use different methods to store and transport the SWB depending on phase. Medic "truck" and "house" kits include the Dometic CFX™ powered coolers that run on AC, DC, or solar power and allow for constant temperature monitoring. When on foot, medics have been outfitted with tactical blood coolers including the Pelican Biomedical Medic 4™ or Combat Medical Blood Box™ along with a Belmont Buddy-Lite™ intravenous (IV) infusion warmer and IV administration kit with standard micron filter. Presently, SOF medics have the donor support, logistical framework, training, and equipment to deliver WB at the point of injury. However, widespread implementation will require expanded distribution and standardization of "blood kits." Additionally, SOF medical planners must put greater emphasis on education and the importance of WB over crystalloids or colloids-as many medics continue to carry only these products out of convenience. As SOF strive to establish tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and streamline prehospital WB delivery, we must constantly reassess and refine our procedures, incorporate the latest evidence and technology, and adapt to an evolving battlefield.

Getting "SMART" on Shock Treatment: An Evidence-Based Mnemonic Acronym for the Initial Management of Hemorrhage in Trauma


Thompson P, Hudson AJ. 19(4). 62 - 65. (Journal Article)

Treating hemorrhagic shock is challenging, the pathology is complex, and time is critical. Treatment requires resources in mental bandwidth (i.e., focused attention), drugs and blood products, equipment, and personnel. Providers must focus on treatment options in order of priority while also maintaining a dynamic assessment of the patient's response to treatment and considering potential differential diagnoses. In this process, the cognitive load is substantial. To avoid errors of clinical reasoning and practical errors of commission, omission, or becoming fixated, it is necessary to use evidence-based treatment recommendations that are concise, in priority order, and easily recalled. This is particularly the case in the austere, remote, or tactical environment. A simple mnemonic acronym, SMART, is presented in this article. It is a clinical heuristic that can be used as an aide-mémoire during the initial phases of resuscitation of the trauma patient with hemorrhagic shock: Start the clock and Stop the bleeding; Maintain perfusion; Administer antifibrinolytics; Retain heat; Titrate blood products and calcium; Think of alternative causes of shock.

Medical Screening of a Repatriated Afghan National Army Special Operations Command Prisoner of War


Florance JM, Hicks M. 19(4). 16 - 18. (Case Reports)

The Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) Surgeon partnered with the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) Surgeon to complete medical screening of a repatriated ANASOC soldier following a 2019 combined raid on a Taliban prison that freed 35 prisoners of war (POWs). This article discusses the presentation and management of the ANASOC POW while also providing a literature review of common pathologies within the POW population. The purpose of this document is to address a unique aspect of military medicine in the expectation that future military providers are prepared to receive repatriated soldiers and prepared to care for fellow prisoners should they themselves become captured.

Management of Hemorrhage From Craniomaxillofacial Injuries and Penetrating Neck Injury in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: iTClamp Mechanical Wound Closure Device TCCC Guidelines Proposed Change 19-04 06 June 2019


Onifer DJ, McKee JL, Faudree LK, Bennett BL, Miles EA, Jacobsen T, Morey JK, Butler FK. 19(3). 31 - 44. (Journal Article)

The 2012 study Death on the battlefield (2001-2011) by Eastridge et al.1 demonstrated that 7.5% of the prehospital deaths caused by potentially survivable injuries were due to external hemorrhage from the cervical region. The increasing use of Tactical Combat-Casualty Care (TCCC) and other medical interventions have dramatically reduced the overall rate of combat-related mortality in US forces; however, uncontrolled hemorrhage remains the number one cause of potentially survivable combat trauma. Additionally, the use of personal protective equipment and adaptations in the weapons used against US forces has caused changes in the wound distribution patterns seen in combat trauma. There has been a significant proportional increase in head and neck wounds, which may result in difficult to control hemorrhage. More than 50% of combat wounded personnel will receive a head or neck wound. The iTClamp (Innovative Trauma Care Inc., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) is the first and only hemorrhage control device that uses the hydrostatic pressure of a hematoma to tamponade bleeding from an injured vessel within a wound. The iTClamp is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use on multiple sites and works in all compressible areas, including on large and irregular lacerations. The iTClamp's unique design makes it ideal for controlling external hemorrhage in the head and neck region. The iTClamp has been demonstrated effective in over 245 field applications. The device is small and lightweight, easy to apply, can be used by any level of first responder with minimal training, and facilitates excellent skills retention. The iTClamp reapproximates wound edges with four pairs of opposing needles. This mechanism of action has demonstrated safe application for both the patient and the provider, causes minimal pain, and does not result in tissue necrosis, even if the device is left in place for extended periods. The Committee on TCCC recommends the use of the iTClamp as a primary treatment modality, along with a CoTCCC-recommended hemostatic dressing and direct manual pressure (DMP), for hemorrhage control in craniomaxillofacial injuries and penetrating neck injuries with external hemorrhage.

The NATO Special Operations Surgical Team Development Course A Program Overview


Parker PJ. 19(3). 26 - 29. (Journal Article)

The Special Operations Surgical Team Development Course (SOSTDC) is a 5-day course held two or three times a year at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) training facility within the Special Operations Medical Branch (SOMB) of the Allied Centre for Medical Education (ACME). Its aim is to teach, train, develop, and encourage NATO partner nations to provide robust, hardened, and clinically able surgical resuscitation teams that are capable of providing close support to Special Operations Forces (SOF).

Delayed Diagnosis in Army Ranger Postdeployment Primaquine-Induced Methemoglobinemia


Essendrop R, Friedline N, Cruz J. 19(3). 14 - 16. (Case Reports)

Presumptive antirelapse therapy (PART) with primaquine for Plasmodium vivax malaria postdeployment is an important component of the US military Force Health Protection plan. While primaquine is well tolerated in the majority of cases, we present a unique case of an active duty Army Ranger without glucose-6-phosphatase dehydrogenase or cytochrome b5 reductase (b5R) deficiencies who developed symptomatic methemoglobinemia while taking PART following a deployment to Afghanistan.

A Comparison of Prehospital Versus Emergency Department Intubations in Iraq and Afghanistan


Schauer SG, April MD, Tannenbaum LI, Maddry JK, Cunningham CW, Blackburn MB, Arana AA, Shackelford S. 19(2). 87 - 90. (Journal Article)

Background: Airway obstruction is the second most common cause of potentially preventable death on the battlefield. We compared survival in the combat setting among patients undergoing prehospital versus emergency department (ED) intubation. Methods: Patients were identified from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) from January 2007 to August 2016. We defined the prehospital cohort as subjects undergoing intubation prior to arrival to a forward surgical team (FST) or combat support hospital (CSH), and the ED cohort as subjects undergoing intubation at an FST or CSH. We compared study variables between these cohorts; survival was our primary outcome. Results: There were 4341 intubations documented in the DODTR during the study period: 1117 (25.7%) patients were intubated prehospital and 3224 (74.3%) were intubated in the ED. Patients intubated prehospital had a lower median age (24 versus 25 years, p < .001), composed a higher proportion of host nation forces (36.1% versus 29.1%, p < .001), had a lower proportion of injuries from explosives (57.6% versus 61.0%, p = .030), and had higher median injury severity scores (20 versus 18, p = .045). A lower proportion of the prehospital cohort survived to hospital discharge (76.4% versus 84.3%, p < .001). The prehospital cohort had lower odds of survival to hospital discharge in both univariable (odds ratio [OR] 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.51-0.71) and multivariable analyses controlling for confounders (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.58-0.85). In a subgroup analysis of patients with a head injury, the lower odds of survival persisted in the multivariable analysis (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.49-0.82). Conclusions: Patients intubated in the prehospital setting had a lower survival than those intubated in the ED. This finding persisted after controlling for measurable confounders.

Resilience and Suicide in Special Operations Forces: State of the Science via Integrative Review


Rocklein Kemplin K, Paun O, Godbee DC, Brandon JW. 19(2). 57 - 66. (Journal Article)

Background: Due to alarming rates of suicide in Special Operations Forces (SOF) and associated effects of traumatic stress in military populations writ large, resilience initiatives thought to influence Servicemembers' mitigation of traumatic stress and thus lower suicide risks have been implemented throughout the services. Since combat operations commenced in multiple theaters of war nearly two decades ago, resilience in conventional military populations became a topic of keen interest throughout departments of defense worldwide as well. Despite researchers' consistent assertions that SOF are highly resilient and at low risk for suicide, granular analysis of pertinent research and escalating suicide in SOF reveals no empirical basis for those beliefs. Methods: We report findings from an integrative review of resilience research in SOF and larger military populations to contextualize and augment understanding of the phenomenon. Results: Throughout the literature, conceptual and operational definitions of resilience varied based on country, context, investigators, and military populations studied. We identified critical gaps in resilience knowledge in the military, specifically: Resilience has not been studied in SOF; resilience is not concretely established to reduce suicide risk or proven to improve mental health outcomes; resilience differs when applied as a psychological construct; resilience research is based on specific assumptions of what composes resilience, depending on methods of measurement; resilience studies in this population lack rigor; research methodologies and conflicting interests invite potential bias. Conclusion: This integrative review highlights emergent issues and repetitive themes throughout military resilience research: resilience program inefficacy, potential investigator bias, perpetuated assumptions, and failure to capture and appropriately analyze germane data. Because of overall inconsistency in military resilience research, studies have limited external validity, and cannot be applied beyond sampled populations. Resilience cannot be responsibly offered as a solution to mitigating posttraumatic stress disorder nor suicide without detailed study of both in SOF.

Mottled, Blanching Skin Changes After Aggressive Diving


Lau AM, Johnston MJ, Rivard SS. 19(2). 14 - 17. (Case Reports)

The initial livedo skin changes of cutis marmorata, also known as cutaneous decompression sickness (DCS), are transient in nature. Accordingly, early images of violaceous skin changes with variegated, marbled, or mottled appearance are rare, whereas later images of deep, erythematous, or violaceous skin changes are readily available. This case presents the opportunity to view the early skin changes characteristic of cutaneous DCS, which would likely manifest at Level I care in the setting of a diving injury during Special Operations missions in austere environments. The unique diving context also allows an overview of DCS in addition to a review of skin eruptions associated with various marine life. As diving is frequently used by Naval Special Warfare, topics presented in this case have significant relevance to Special Operations.

Integrating Prolonged Field Care Into Rough Terrain and Mountain Warfare Training: The Mountain Critical Care Course


Nicholson B, Neskey J, Stanfield R, Fetterolf B, Ersando J, Cohen J, Kue R. 19(1). 66 - 69. (Journal Article)

Current prolonged field care (PFC) training routinely occurs in simulated physical locations that force providers to continue care until evacuation to definitive care, as based on the staged Ruck-Truck-House-Plane model. As PFC-capable teams move further forward into austere environments in support of the fight, they are in physical locations that do not fit this staged model and may require teams to execute their own casualty evacuation through rough terrain. The physical constraints that come specifically with austere, mountainous terrain can challenge PFC providers to initiate resuscitative interventions and challenge their ability to sustain these interventions during lengthy, dismounted movement over unimproved terrain. In this brief report, we describe our experience with a novel training course designed for PFC-capable medical teams to integrate their level of advanced resuscitative care within a mountainous, rough terrain evacuation-training program. Our goals were to identify training gaps for Special Operations Forces medical units tasked to operate in a cold-weather, mountain environment with limited evacuation resources and the challenges related to maintaining PFC interventions during dismounted casualty movement.

Masimo Perfusion Index Versus Doppler for Tourniquet Effectiveness Monitoring


Wall PL, Buising CM, Nelms D, Grulke L, Renner CH. 19(1). 44 - 46. (Journal Article)

Background: In addition to a plethysmograph, Masimo pulse oximeters display a Perfusion Index (PI) value. This study investigated the possible usefulness of PI for monitoring limb tourniquet arterial occlusion. Methods: Tactical Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets were applied to the thighs of 15 subjects. Tightening ended at one ratchet-tooth advance beyond Doppler- indicated occlusion. The times and pressures of Doppler and PI signal absences and returns were recorded. Results: Intermittent PI signal error occurred in 149 of 450 runs (PI, 33% versus Doppler, 0%; p < .0001). PI signal loss lagged Doppler-indicated occlusion by 19 ± 15 seconds (mean ± standard deviation, p < .0001). PI Signal Return lagged tourniquet release by 13 ± 7 seconds (Doppler Signal Return took 1 ± 1 seconds following tourniquet release; p < .0001). PI failed to detect early Doppler audible pulse return in 30 of 39 occurrences. Conclusion: The PI available on Masimo pulse oximeters is not appropriate for monitoring limb tourniquet effectiveness

An Unusual Wound Infection Due to Acinetobacter junii on the Island of Oahu: A Case Report


Griffin J, Barnhill JC, Washington MA. 19(1). 14 - 15. (Case Reports)

The genus Acinetobacter has long been associated with war wounds. Indeed, A baumannii was responsible for so many infected wounds during Operation Iraqi Freedom that it was given the nickname "Iraqibacter." Therefore, it is important to monitor the occurrence and spread of Acinetobacter species in military populations and to identify new or unusual sources of infection. A junii is an infrequently reported human pathogen. Here, we report a case of a slow-healing wound infection with A junii in a woman on the island of Oahu. This case highlights the pathogenic potential of this organism and the need for proper wound care when dealing with slow-healing wounds of unknown etiology. It also underscores the need for identifying species of Acinetobacter that are not A baumannii to better understand the epidemiology of slow-healing wound infections.

A Novel, Perfused-Cadaver Simulation Model for Tourniquet Training in Military Medics


Grabo DJ, Polk T, Strumwasser A, Inaba K, Foran CP, Luther C, Minneti M, Kronstedt S, Wilson A, Demetriades D. 18(4). 97 - 102. (Journal Article)

Background: Exsanguinating limb injury is a significant cause of preventable death on the battlefield and can be controlled with tourniquets. US Navy corpsmen rotating at the Navy Trauma Training Center receive instruction on tourniquets. We evaluated the effectiveness of traditional tourniquet instruction compared with a novel, perfused-cadaver, simulation model for tourniquet training. Methods: Corpsmen volunteering to participate were randomly assigned to one of two tourniquet training arms. Traditional training (TT) consisted of lectures, videos, and practice sessions. Perfused-cadaver training (PCT) included TT plus training using a regionally perfused cadaver. Corpsmen were evaluated on their ability to achieve hemorrhage control with tourniquet(s) using the perfused cadaver. Outcomes included (1) time to control hemorrhage, (2) correct placement of tourniquet(s), and (3) volume of simulated blood loss. Participants were asked about confidence in understanding indications and skills for tourniquets. Results: The 53 corpsmen enrolled in the study were randomly assigned as follows: 26 to the TT arm and 27 to the PCT arm. Corpsmen in the PCT group controlled bleeding with the first tourniquet more frequently (96% versus 83%; p < .03), were quicker to hemorrhage control (39 versus 45 seconds; p < .01), and lost less simulated blood (256mL versus 355mL; p < .01). There was a trend toward increased confidence in tourniquet application among all corpsmen. Conclusions: Using a perfused- cadaver training model, corpsmen placed tourniquets more rapidly and with less simulated-blood loss than their traditional training counterparts. They were more likely to control hemorrhage with first tourniquet placement and gain confidence in this procedure. Additional studies are indicated to identify components of effective simulation training for tourniquets.

Differences in Stress Shoot Performance Among Special Forces Operators Who Participate in a Human Performance Program Versus Those Who Do Not


Canada DM, Dawes JJ, Lindsay KG, Elder C, Goldberg P, Bartley N, Werth K, Bricker D, Fischer T. 18(4). 64 - 68. (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if Army Special Operation Forces (ARSOF) Operators who participate in the Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning program perform significantly better on a simulated stress shoot scenario than ARSOF Operators who do not participate in the program. Methods: Deidentified archival data from 64 male ARSOF Operators (mean ± standard deviation: age, 31.1 ± 4.96 years; SOF experience, 3.44 ± 4.10 years) who participated in the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat stress shoot were assessed to determine if differences in performance existed between program users (n = 25) and nonusers (n = 39). A series of bootstrapped analyses of variance in conjunction with effect-size calculations was conducted to determine if significant mean score differences existed between users and nonusers on raw and total course completion times, high-value target acquisition (positive identification time), and penalties accrued. Results: Small to medium effect sizes were observed between users and nonusers in raw time, penalties, and total time. Although there were no significant differences between users and nonusers, there was less variation in raw time and total time in users compared with nonusers. Conclusion: Our findings becomes a question of practical versus statistical significance, because less performance variability while under physical and psychological duress could be life saving for ARSOF Operators.

Use of Drone Technology for Delivery of Medical Supplies During Prolonged Field Care


Mesar T, Lessig A, King DR. 18(4). 34 - 35. (Journal Article)

Background: Care of trauma casualties in an austere environment presents many challenges, particularly when evacuation is not immediately available. Man-packable medical supplies may be consumed by a single casualty, and resupply may not be possible before evacuation, particularly during prolonged field care scenarios. We hypothesized that unmanned aerial drones could successfully deliver life-sustaining medical supplies to a remote, denied environment where vehicle or foot traffic is impossible or impractical. Methods: Using an unmanned, rotary- wing drone, we simulated delivery of a customizable, 4.5kg load of medical equipment, including tourniquets, dressings, analgesics, and blood products. A simulated casualty was positioned in a remote area. The flight was preprogrammed on the basis of grid coordinates and flew on autopilot beyond visual range; data (altitude, flight time, route) were recorded live by high-altitude Shadow drone. Delivery time was compared to the known US military standards for traversing uneven topography by foot or wheeled vehicle. Results: Four flights were performed. Data are given as mean (± standard deviation). Time from launch to delivery was 20.77 ± 0.05 minutes (cruise speed, 34.03 ± 0.15 km/h; mean range, 12.27 ± 0.07 km). Medical supplies were delivered successfully within 1m of the target. The drone successfully returned to the starting point every flight. Resupply by foot would take 5.1 hours with an average speed of 2.4km/h and 61.35 minutes, with an average speed of 12 km/h for a wheeled vehicle, if a rudimentary road existed. Conclusion: Use of unmanned drones is feasible for delivery of life-saving medical supplies in austere environments. Drones repeatedly and accurately delivered medical supplies faster than other methods without additional risk to personnel or manned airframe. This technology may have benefit for austere care of military and civilian casualties.

Does Pain Have a Role When It Comes to Tourniquet Training?


Alterie J, Dennis AJ, Baig A, Impens A, Ivkovic K, Joseph KT, Messer TA, Poulakidas S, Starr FL, Wiley DE, Bokhari F, Nagy KK. 18(3). 71 - 74. (Journal Article)

Background: One of the greatest conundrums with tourniquet (TQ) education is the use of an appropriate surrogate of hemorrhage in the training setting to determine whether a TQ has been successfully used. At our facility, we currently use loss of audible Doppler signal or loss of palpable pulse to represent adequate occlusion of vasculature and thus successful TQ application. We set out to determine whether pain can be used to indicate successful TQ application in the training setting. Methods: Three tourniquet systems (a pneumatic tourniquet, Combat Application Tourniquet® [C-A-T], and Stretch Wrap and Tuck Tourniquet™ [SWAT-T]) were used to occlude the arterial vasculature of the left upper arm (LUA), right upper arm (RUA), left forearm (LFA), right forearm (RFA), right thigh (RTH), and right calf (RCA) of 41 volunteers. A 4MHz, handheld Doppler ultrasound was used to confirm loss of Doppler signal (LOS) at the radial or posterior tibial artery to denote successful TQ application. Once successful placement of the TQ was noted, subjects rated their pain from 0 to 10 on the visual analog scale. In addition, the circumference of each limb, the pressure with the pneumatic TQ, number of twists with the C-A-T, and length of TQ used for the SWAT-T to obtain LOS was recorded. Results: All 41 subjects had measurements at all anatomic sites with the pneumatic TQ, except one participant who was unable to complete the LUA. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 61% of subjects for LUA, 50% for LFA, 57.5% for RUA, 52.5% RFA, 15% for RTH, and 25% for RCA. Pain was rated 3 or 4 by 45% of subjects for RTH. For the C-A-T, data were collected from 40 participants. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 57.5% for the LUA, 70% for the LFA, 62.5% for the RUA, 75% for the RFA, 15% for the RTH, and 40% for the RCA. Pain was rated 3 or 4 by 42.5%. The SWAT-T group consisted of 37 participants for all anatomic locations. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 27% for LUA, 40.5% for the LFA, 27.0% for the RUA, 43.2 for the RFA, 18.9% for the RTH, and 16.2% for the RCA. Pain was rated 5 by 21.6% for RTH application, and 3 or 4 by 35%. Conclusion: The unexpected low pain values recorded when loss of signal was reached make the use of pain too sensitive as an indicator to confirm adequate occlusion of vasculature and, thus, successful TQ application.

Swedish Specialized Boarding Element Members' Experiences of Naval Hostile Duty


Hindorf M, Lundberg L, Jonsson A. 18(3). 45 - 49. (Journal Article)

Background: The Swedish naval specialized boarding element participated in Operation Atalanta in 2013 to mitigate piracy by escorting and protecting ships included in the United Nations World Food Program in the Indian Ocean. We describe the experiences of the Swedish naval specialized boarding-element members during 4 months of international naval hostile duty. Some studies have reported experiences of naval duty for the Coast Guard or the merchant fleet; however, we did not find any studies that identified or described experiences of long-time duty onboard ship for the naval armed forces. Materials and Methods: The respondents wrote individual notes of daily events while onboard. Conventional content analysis was used on the collected data, using an inductive approach. Results: The findings revealed three broad themes: military preparedness, coping with the naval context, and handling physical and mental strain. Different categories emerged indicating that the participants need the ability to adapt to the naval environment and to real situations. Conclusion: The Swedish naval forces should train their specialized element members in coping strategies.

Study of Tourniquet Use in Simulated First Aid: User Judgment


Kragh JF, Tan AR, Newton NJ, Aden JK, Dubick MA. 18(3). 15 - 21. (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to survey the judgments of tourniquet users in simulation to discern opportunities for further study. Methods: The study design constituted two parts: questions posed to four tourniquet users and then their tourniquet use was surveyed in simulated first aid, where the users had to decide how to perform among five different cases. The questions addressed judged confidence, blood volumes, a reason bleeding resumes, regret of preventable death, hemorrhage assessment, need for side-by-side use of tourniquets, shock severity, predicting reliability, and difference in blood losses. The mechanical performance was tested on a manikin. Case 1 had no bleeding. Case 2 had limb-wound bleeding that indicated tourniquet use in first aid. Case 3 was like case 2, except the patient was a child. Case 4 was like case 2, except caregiving was under gunfire. Case 5 was like case 4, but two tourniquets were to be used side by side. Each user made tests of the five cases to constitute a block. Each user had three blocks. Case order was randomized within blocks. The study had 60 tests. Results: In answering questions relevant to first-aid use of limb tourniquets, judgments were in line with previous studies of judgment science, and thus were plausibly applicable. Mechanical performance results on the manikin were as follows: 38 satisfactory, 10 unsatisfactory (a loose tourniquet and nine incorrect tourniquet placements), and 12 not applicable (case 1 needed no mechanical intervention). For cases 1 to 5, satisfactory results were: 100%, 83%, 100%, 75%, and 58%, respectively. For blocks 1 to 3, satisfactory results were 50%, 83%, and 83%, respectively. Conclusion: For tourniquet use in simulated first aid, the results are plausibly applicable because user judgments were coherent with those in previous studies of judgment science. However, the opportunities for further studies were noted.

Survey of Casualty Evacuation Missions Conducted by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment During the Afghanistan Conflict


Redman TT, Mayberry KE, Mora AG, Benedict BA, Ross EM, Mapp JG, Kotwal RS. 18(2). 79 - 85. (Journal Article)

Background: Historically, documentation of prehospital combat casualty care has been relatively nonexistent. Without documentation, performance improvement of prehospital care and evacuation through data collection, consolidation, and scientific analyses cannot be adequately accomplished. During recent conflicts, prehospital documentation has received increased attention for point-of-injury care as well as for care provided en route on medical evacuation platforms. However, documentation on casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) platforms is still lacking. Thus, a CASEVAC dataset was developed and maintained by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), a nonmedical, rotary-wing aviation unit, to evaluate and review CASEVAC missions conducted by their organization. Methods: A retrospective review and descriptive analysis were performed on data from all documented CASEVAC missions conducted in Afghanistan by the 160th SOAR from January 2008 to May 2015. Documentation of care was originally performed in a narrative after-action review (AAR) format. Unclassified, nonpersonally identifiable data were extracted and transferred from these AARs into a database for detailed analysis. Data points included demographics, flight time, provider number and type, injury and outcome details, and medical interventions provided by ground forces and CASEVAC personnel. Results: There were 227 patients transported during 129 CASEVAC missions conducted by the 160th SOAR. Three patients had unavailable data, four had unknown injuries or illnesses, and eight were military working dogs. Remaining were 207 trauma casualties (96%) and five medical patients (2%). The mean and median times of flight from the injury scene to hospital arrival were less than 20 minutes. Of trauma casualties, most were male US and coalition forces (n = 178; 86%). From this population, injuries to the extremities (n = 139; 67%) were seen most commonly. The primary mechanisms of injury were gunshot wound (n = 89; 43%) and blast injury (n = 82; 40%). The survival rate was 85% (n = 176) for those who incurred trauma. Of those who did not survive, most died before reaching surgical care (26 of 31; 84%). Conclusion: Performance improvement efforts directed toward prehospital combat casualty care can ameliorate survival on the battlefield. Because documentation of care is essential for conducting performance improvement, medical and nonmedical units must dedicate time and efforts accordingly. Capturing and analyzing data from combat missions can help refine tactics, techniques, and procedures and more accurately define wartime personnel, training, and equipment requirements. This study is an example of how performance improvement can be initiated by a nonmedical unit conducting CASEVAC missions.

Prehospital Administration of Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Open Combat Wounds in Afghanistan: 2013-2014


Schauer SG, Fisher AD, April MD, Stolper KA, Cunningham CW, Carter R, Fernandez JD, Pfaff JA. 18(2). 53 - 56. (Journal Article)

Background: Military operations place injured Servicemembers at high risk for open wounds. Austere environments and initial wound contamination increase the risk for infection. Wound infections continue to cause significant morbidity among injured Servicemembers. Limited evidence suggests that early antibiotic therapy for open wounds reduces infection rates. Methods: We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR) from January 2013 through September 2014. This database includes data from Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) cards, Department of Defense 1380 forms, and after-action reports to provide near-real-time feedback to units on prehospital medical care. We evaluated whether patients with open wounds received antibiotics in accordance with TCCC guidelines. Low adherence was defined at less than 80%. Results: In this data set, overall, prefixed facility providers administered antibiotics to 54.0% of patients with an open combat wound. Of the antibiotics given, 11.1% were within TCCC guidelines. The relatively low administration and adherence rates persisted across subgroup analyses. Conclusion: Overall, relatively few patients with open combat wounds receive antibiotic administration as recommended by TCCC guidelines. In the group that received antibiotics, few received the specific antibiotics recommended by TCCC guidelines. The development of strategies to improve adherence to these TCCC recommendations is a research priority.

New and Established Models of Limb Tourniquet Compared in Simulated First Aid


Kragh JF, Newton NJ, Tan AR, Aden JK, Dubick MA. 18(2). 36 - 41. (Journal Article)

Background: The performance of a new tourniquet model was compared with that of an established model in simulated first aid. Methods: Four users applied the Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T), an established model that served as the control tourniquet, and the new SAM Extremity Tourniquet (SXT) model, which was the study tourniquet. Results: The performance of the C-A-T was better than that of the SXT for seven measured parameters versus two, respectively; metrics were statistically tied 12 times. The degree of difference, when present, was often small. For pretime, a period of uncontrolled bleeding from the start to a time point when the tourniquet first contacts the manikin, the bleeding rate was uncontrolled at approximately 10.4mL/s, and for an overall average of 39 seconds of pretime, 406mL of blood loss was calculated. The mean time to determination of bleeding control (± standard deviation [SD]) was 66 seconds (SXT, 70 ± 30 seconds; C-A-T, 62 ± 18 seconds; p = .0075). The mean ease-of-use score was 4 (indicating easy) on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating very easy (mean ± SD: SXT, 4 ± 1; C-A-T, 5 ± 0; p < .0001). C-A-T also performed better for total trial time, manikin damage, blood loss rate, pressure, and composite score. SXT was better for pretime and unwrap time. All users intuitively self-selected the speed at which they applied the tourniquets and that speed was similar in all of the required steps. However, by time segments, one user went slowest in each segment while the other three generally went faster. Conclusions: In simulated first aid with tourniquets, better results generally were seen with the C-A-T than with the SXT in terms of performance metrics. However, the degree of difference, when present, was often small.

Ocular Injuries and Cultural Influences in Afghanistan During 5 Months of Operation Enduring Freedom


Paz DA, Thomas KE, Primakov DG. 18(1). 77 - 80. (Journal Article)

In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, American, North American Treaty Organization (NATO) Coalition, and Afghan forces worked together in training exercises and counterinsurgency operations. While serving at the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit, Kandahar, Afghanistan, numerous patients with explosive blast injuries (Coalition and Afghan security forces, and insurgents) were treated. A disparity was noted between the ocular injury patterns of US and Coalition forces in comparison with their Afghan counterparts, which were overwhelmingly influenced by the use, or lack thereof, of eye protection. Computed tomography imaging coupled, with a correlative clinical examination, demonstrated the spectrum of ocular injuries that can result from an explosive blast. Patient examination was performed by Navy radiologists and an ophthalmologist. A cultural analysis by was performed to understand why eye protection was not used, even if available to Afghan forces, by the injured patients in hope of bridging the gap between Afghan cultural differences and proper operational risk management of combat forces.

Evaluation of XSTAT® and QuickClot® Combat Gauze® in a Swine Model of Lethal Junctional Hemorrhage in Coagulopathic Swine


Cox JM, Rall JM. 17(3). 64 - 67. (Journal Article)

Background: Hemorrhage is associated with most potentially survivable deaths on the battlefield. Effective and field-tested products are lacking to treat junctional and noncompressible injuries. XSTAT® is a newly developed, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved product designed to treat junctional hemorrhage. The Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care has recently approved the product for use as part of its treatment guidelines, but data are lacking to assess its efficacy in different wounding patterns and physiologic states. Methods: Dilutional coagulopathy was induced in 19 large (70-90kg), healthy, male swine by replacing 60% of each animal's estimated blood volume with room temperature Hextend ®. After dissection, isolation, and lidocaine incubation, uncontrolled hemorrhage was initiated by transection of both axillary artery and vein. Free bleeding was allowed to proceed for 30 seconds until intervention with either XSTAT or QuickClot® Combat Gauze® (CG) followed by standard backing. Primary outcomes were survival, hemostasis, and blood loss. Results: XSTAT-treated animals achieved hemostasis in less time and remained hemostatic longer than those treated with CG. Less blood was lost during the first 10 minutes after injury in the XSTAT group than the CG group. However, no differences in survival were observed between XSTAT-treated and CG-treated groups. All animals died before the end of the observation period except one in the XSTAT-treated group. Conclusion: XSTAT performed better than CG in this model of junctional hemorrhage in coagulopathic animals. Continued testing and evaluation of XSTAT should be performed to optimize application and determine appropriate indications for use.

Challenges of Transport and Resuscitation of a Patient With Severe Acidosis and Hypothermia in Afghanistan


Brazeau MJ, Bolduc CA, Delmonaco BL, Syed AS. 18(1). 23 - 28. (Case Reports)

We present the case of a patient with new-onset diabetes, severe acidosis, hypothermia, and shock who presented to a Role 1 Battalion Aid Station (BAS) in Afghanistan. The case is unique because the patient made a rapid and full recovery without needing hemodialysis. We review the literature to explain how such a rapid recovery is possible and propose that hypothermia in the setting of his severe acidosis was protective.

Diagnostic Accuracy of Emergency Bedside Ultrasonography to Detect Cutaneous Wooden Foreign Bodies: Does Size Matter?


Fleming ME, Heiner JD, Summers S, April MD, Chin EJ. 17(4). 72 - 75. (Journal Article)

Background: Soft-tissue occult foreign bodies are a concerning cause of morbidity in the emergency department. The identification of wooden foreign bodies is a unique challenge because they are often not detectable by plain radiography. The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of emergency physician-performed ultrasonography to detect wooden foreign bodies of varying sizes. We hypothesized that sonographic sensitivity would improve with increasing foreign body size. Methods: We conducted a blinded, prospective evaluation using a previously validated, chicken, soft-tissue model to simulate human tissue. We inserted wooden toothpicks of varying lengths (1mm, 2.5mm, 5mm, 7.5mm, 10mm) to a depth of 1cm in five tissue models. Five additional models were left without a foreign body to serve as controls. Fifty emergency physicians with prior ultrasonography training performed sonographic examinations of all 10 models and reported on the presence or absence of wooden foreign bodies. Results: Subjects performed 10 ultrasonography examinations each for a total of 500 examinations. For the detection of wooden foreign bodies, overall test characteristics for sonography included sensitivity 48.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 42.1%-54.8%) and specificity 67.6% (95% CI, 61.3%- 73.2%). Sensitivity did not change as object size increased (ρ = s.709). Conclusion: Emergency physician bedside ultrasonography demonstrated poor diagnostic accuracy for the detection of wooden foreign bodies. Accuracy did not improve with increasing object size up to 10mm. Providers should consider alternative diagnostic modalities if there is persistent clinical concern for a retained, radiolucent, soft-tissue foreign body.

Staff Attitudes Regarding the Impact of a Therapy Dog Program on Military Behavioral Health Patients


Brisson S, Dekker AH. 17(4). 49 - 51. (Journal Article)

Background: Human-animal interactions in the form of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) have become common in both civilian and military health care facilities. Evidence supports AAT as a beneficial therapeutic alternative for patients with physical disabilities and psychological disorders. Few studies have been conducted in the civilian health care setting to evaluate staff attitudes regarding the impact of an AAT program on behavioral health (BH) patients. To our knowledge, no research has examined staff attitudes on the impact and effectiveness of AAT on active-duty Servicemembers in a BH program at a military facility. Methods: At the completion of a year-long AAT dog program and after institutional review board exemption, an anonymous, six-question survey was used to examine staff attitudes (n = 29) regarding the impact and continuation of the program with military BH patients. Results: Most staff members (86%) believed the AAT dog program had a positive impact on the BH patients, including improved patient mood, greater patient relaxation, improved patient attitude toward therapy, and increased social interactions among patients. All the staff reported a desire to continue the program at the military facility. Conclusion: Most BH staff thought the year-long AAT dog program had a positive impact on patients. All staff supported continuation of the program.

Assessment of User, Glove, and Device Effects on Performance of Tourniquet Use in Simulated First Aid


Kragh JF, Aden JK, Lambert CD, Moore VK, Dubick MA. 17(4). 29 - 36. (Journal Article)

Background: The effects of users, glove types, and tourniquet devices on the performance of limb tourniquet use in simulated first aid were measured. Materials and Methods: Four users conducted 180 tests of tourniquet performance in eight glove groups compared with bare hands as a control. Results: Among tests, 99% (n = 179) had favorable results for each of the following: effectiveness (i.e., bleeding control), distal pulse stoppage, and tourniquet placement at the correct site. However, only 90% of tests ended with a satisfactory result, which is a composite outcome of aggregated metrics if all (patient status is stable, tourniquet placement is good, and pressure is good) are satisfactory. Of 18 unsatisfactory results, 17 (94%) were due to pressure problems. Most of the variance of the majority of continuous metrics (time to determination of bleeding control, trial time, overall time, pressure, and blood loss) could be attributed to the users (62%, 55%, 61%, 8%, and 68%, respectively). Glove effects impaired and slowed performance; three groups (cold gloves layered under mittens, mittens, and cold gloves) consistently had significant effects and five groups (examination gloves, flight gloves, leather gloves, glove liners, and glove liners layered under leather gloves) did not. For time to bleeding control and blood loss, performance using these same three glove groups had worse results compared with bare hands by 26, 18, and 17 seconds and by 188, 116, and 124mL, respectively. Device effects occurred only with continuous metrics and were often dominated by user effects. Conclusion: In simulated first aid with tourniquets used to control bleeding, users had major effects on most performance metrics. Glove effects were significant for three of eight glove types. Tourniquet device effects occurred only with continuous metrics and were often dominated by user effects.

Optimization of Simulation and Moulage in Military-Related Medical Training


Petersen CD, Rush SC, Gallo I, Dalere B, Staak BP, Moore L, Kerr W, Chandler M, Smith W. 17(3). 74 - 80. (Journal Article)

Preparation of Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medics as first responders for the battle space and austere environments is critical to optimize survival and quality of life for our Operators who may sustain serious and complex wounding patterns and illnesses. In the absence of constant clinical exposure for these medics, it is necessary to maximize all available training opportunities. The incorporation of scenario-based training helps weave together teamwork and the ability to practice treatment protocols in a tactical, controlled training environment to reproduce, to some degree, the environment in and stressors under which care will need to be delivered. We reviewed the evolution of training scenarios within one Pararescue (PJ) team since 2008 and codified various tools used to simulate physical findings and drive medical exercises as part of scenario-based training. We also surveyed other SOF Medic training resources.

Estimation of Dog-Bite Risk and Related Morbidity Among Personnel Working With Military Dogs


Schermann H, Eiges N, Sabag A, Kazum E, Albagli A, Salai M, Shlaifer A. 17(3). 51 - 54. (Journal Article)

Background: Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Force Military Working Dogs (MWD) Unit spend many hours taming dogs' special skills, taking them on combat missions, and performing various dogkeeping activities. During this intensive work with the aggressive military dogs, bites are common, and some of them result in permanent disability. However, this phenomenon has not been quantified or reported as an occupational hazard. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study based on self-administered questionnaires. Information was collected about soldiers' baseline demographics, duration of the experience of working with dogs, total number of bites they had, circumstances of bite events, and complications and medical treatment of each bite. Bite risk was quantified by incidence, mean time to first bite, and a Cox proportional hazards model. Rates of complications and the medical burden of bites were compared between combat soldiers and noncombat dogkeepers. Bite locations were presented graphically. Results: Seventy-eight soldiers participated and reported on 139 bites. Mean time of working with dogs was 16 months (standard deviation, ±9.4 months). Overall bite incidence was 11 bites per 100 person-months; the mean time to first bite event was 6.3 months. The Cox proportional hazards model showed that none of baseline characteristics significantly increased bite hazard. About 90% of bites occurred during routine activities, and 3.3% occurred on combat missions. Only in 9% of bite events did soldiers observed the safety precautions code. Bite complications included fractures, need for intravenous antibiotic treatment and surgical repair, prominent scarring, diminished sensation, and stiffness of proximal joints. Bite complications were similar between combat soldiers and dogkeepers. Most bites (57%) were located on hands and arms. Conclusion: MWD bites are an occupational hazard resulting in significant medical burden. Hands and arms were most common bite locations. Observance of safety precautions may be the most appropriate first-line preventive intervention. Barrier protection of upper extremities may reduce bite severity and complication rates.

Use of Acetylsalicylic Acid in the Prehospital Setting for Suspected Acute Ischemic Stroke


Levri JM, Ocon A, Schunk P, Cunningham CW. 17(3). 21 - 23. (Journal Article)

Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) treatment guidelines include various recommendations for treatment once the patient arrives at the hospital. Prehospital care recommendations, however, are limited to expeditious transport to a qualified hospital and supportive care. The literature has insufficiently considered prehospital antiplatelet therapy. An otherwise healthy 30-year-old black man presented with headache for about 3 hours, left-sided facial and upper extremity numbness, slurred speech, miosis, lacrimation, and general fatigue and malaise. The presentation occurred at a time and location where appropriate resources to manage potential AIS were limited. The patient received a thorough physical examination and electrocardiogram. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) 325mg was administered within 15 minutes of history and examination. A local host-nation ambulance arrived approximately 30 minutes after presentation. The patient's neurologic symptoms had abated by the time the ambulance arrived. The patient did not undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) until 72 hours after being admitted, owing to lack of neurology staff over the weekend. The MRI showed evidence of a left-sided, posteriorinferior cerebellar artery stroke. The patient was then taken to a different hospital, where he received care for his acute stroke. The patient eventually was prescribed a statin, ASA, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. The patient has no lingering symptoms or neurologic deficits.

Stress Fractures: Etiology, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention


Knapik JJ, Reynolds K, Hoedebecke KL. 17(2). 120 - 130. (Journal Article)

Stress fractures are part of a continuum of changes in healthy bones in response to repeated mechanical deformation from physical activity. If the activity produces excessive repetitive stress, osteoclastic processes in the bone may proceed at a faster pace than osteoblastic processes, thus weakening the bone and augmenting susceptibility to stress fractures. Overall stress fracture incidence is about three cases per 1,000 in active duty Servicemembers, but it is much higher among Army basic trainees: 19 per 1,000 for men and 80 per 1,000 for women. Well-documented risk factors include female sex, white ethnicity, older age, taller stature, lower aerobic fitness, prior physical inactivity, greater amounts of current physical training, thinner bones, cigarette smoking, and inadequate intake of vitamin D and/or calcium. Individuals with stress fractures present with focal tenderness and local pain that is aggravated by physical activity and reduced by rest. A sudden increase in the volume of physical activity along with other risk factors is often reported. Simple clinical tests can assist in diagnosis, but more definitive imaging tests will eventually need to be conducted if a stress fracture is suspected. Plain radiographs are recommended as the initial imaging test, but magnetic resonance imaging has higher sensitivity and is more likely to detect the injury sooner. Treatment involves first determining if the stress fracture is of higher or lower risk; these are distinguished by anatomical location and whether the bone is loaded in tension (high risk) or compression (lower risk). Lowerrisk stress fractures can be initially treated by reducing loading on the injured bone through a reduction in activity or by substituting other activities. Higher-risk stress fractures should be referred to an orthopedist. Investigated prevention strategies include modifications to physical training programs, use of shock absorbing insoles, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, modifications of military equipment, and leadership education with injury surveillance.

Ketones and Human Performance


Scott JM, Deuster PA. 17(2). 112 - 116. (Journal Article)

Everyone is seeking nutritional strategies that might benefit performance. One approach receiving much attention is ketones, or ketosis. Ketones are very simple compounds made of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, and ketosis is a metabolic state whereby the body uses predominantly ketones. Ketosis can be achieved by fasting for longer than 72 hours or by following a very lowcarbohydrate, high-fat diet (ketogenic diet) for several days to weeks. Alternatively, ketone supplements purportedly induce ketosis rapidly and do not require strict adherence to any specific type of diet; however, much of the touted benefits are anecdotal. A potential role for ketosis as a performance enhancer was first introduced in 1983 with the idea that chronic ketosis without caloric restriction could preserve submaximal exercise capability by sparing glycogen or conserving the limited carbohydrate stores. Few human studies on the effects of a ketogenic diet on performance have yielded positive results, and most studies have yielded equivocal or null results, and a few negative results. Many questions about ketones relevant to Special Operations Forces (SOF) remain unanswered. At present, a ketogenic diet and/or a ketone supplement do not appear confer performance benefits for SOF. Instead, Operators should engage with their unit dietitian to develop individualized nutritional strategies based on unique mission requirements. The authors review the concept of a ketogenic diet, describe some potential benefits and risks of ketosis, review the performance literature and how to measure ketone status, and then summarize the landscape in 2017.

The Sole Provider: Preparation for Deployment to a Medically Austere Theater


Corso P, Mandry C, Reynolds S. 17(2). 74 - 81. (Journal Article)

The combat focus of the US Military over the past 15 years has primarily centered on the Iraq and Afghanistan areas of operation (AOs). Thus, much human and financial capital has been dedicated to the creation of a robust medical infrastructure to support those operations. However, Special Operation Forces (SOF) are often called upon to deploy in much more medically austere AOs. SOF medical providers operating in such environments face significant challenges due to the diversity of medical threats, extremely limited access to medical resupply, a material shortage of casualty evacuation platforms, lack of medical facilities, and limited access to higher-level care providers. This article highlights the challenges faced during a recent Special Forces deployment to such an austere environment. Many of these challenges can be mitigated with a specific approach to premission training and preparation.

Review of 54 Cases of Prolonged Field Care


DeSoucy ES, Shackelford S, DuBose JJ, Zweben S, Rush SC, Kotwal RS, Montgomery HR, Keenan S. 17(1). 121 - 129. (Journal Article)

Background: Prolonged field care (PFC) is field medical care applied beyond doctrinal planning time-lines. As current and future medical operations must include deliberate and contingency planning for such events, data are lacking to support efforts. A case review was conducted to define the epidemiology, environment, and operational factors that affect PFC outcomes. Methods: A survey distributed to US military medical providers solicited details of PFC encounters lasting more than 4 hours and included patient demographics, environmental descriptors, provider training, modes of transportation, injuries, mechanism of injury, vital signs, treatments, equipment and resources used, duration of PFC, and morbidity and mortality status on delivery to the next level of care. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze survey responses. Results: Surveys from 54 patients treated during 41 missions were analyzed. The PFC provider was on scene at time of injury or illness for 40.7% (22/54) of cases. The environment was described as remote or austere for 96.3% (52/54) of cases. Enemy activity or weather also contributed to need for PFC in 37.0% (20/54) of cases. Care was provided primarily outdoors (37.0%; 20/54) and in hardened nonmedical structures (37.0%; 20/54) with 42.6% (23/54) of cases managed in two or more locations or transport platforms. Teleconsultation was obtained in 14.8% (8/54) of cases. The prehospital time of care ranged from 4 to 120 hours (median 10 hours), and five (9.3%) patients died prior to transport to next level of care. Conclusion: PFC in the prehospital setting is a vital area of military medicine about which data are sparse. This review was a novel initial analysis of recent US military PFC experiences, with descriptive findings that should prove helpful for future efforts to include defining unique skillsets and capabilities needed to effectively respond to a variety of PFC contingencies.

Graduate Medical Education in Tactical Medicine and the Impact of ACGME Accreditation of EMS Fellowships


Tang N, Levy MJ, Margolis AM, Woltman N. 17(1). 101 - 104. (Journal Article)

Physician interest in tactical medicine as an area of professional practice has grown significantly over the past decade. The prevalence of physician involvement in terms of medical oversight and operational support of civilian tactical medicine has experienced tremendous growth during this timeframe. Factors contributing to this trend are multifactorial and include enhanced law enforcement agency understanding of the role of the tactical physician, support for the engagement of qualified medical oversight, increasing numbers of physicians formally trained in tactical medicine, and the ongoing escalation of intentional mass-casualty incidents worldwide. Continued vigilance for the sustenance of adequate and appropriate graduate medical education resources for physicians seeking training in the comprehensive aspects of tactical medicine is essential to ensure continued advancement of the quality of casualty care in the civilian high-threat environment.

Load Carriage-Related Paresthesias (Part 2): Meralgia Paresthetica


Knapik JJ, Reynolds K, Orr R, Pope R. 17(1). 94 - 100. (Journal Article)

This is the second of a two-part series addressing symptoms, evaluation, and treatment of load carriage- related paresthesias. Part 1 addressed rucksack palsy and digitalgia paresthetica; here, meralgia paresthetica (MP) is discussed. MP is a mononeuropathy involving the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). MP has been reported in load carriage situations where the LFCN was compressed by rucksack hipbelts, pistol belts, parachute harnesses, and body armor. In the US military, the rate of MP is 6.2 cases/10,000 personyears. Military Servicewomen have higher rates than Servicemen, and rates increase with age, longer loadcarriage distance or duration, and higher body mass index. Patients typically present with pain, itching, and paresthesia on the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. There are no motor impairments or muscle weakness, because the LFCN is entirely sensory. Symptoms may be present on standing and/or walking, and may be relieved by adopting other postures. Clinical tests to evaluate MP include the pelvic compression test, the femoral nerve neurodynamic test, and nerve blocks using lidocaine or procaine. In cases where these clinical tests do not confirm the diagnosis, specialized tests might be considered, including somatosensory evoked potentials, sensory nerve conduction studies, high-resolution ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. Treatment should initially be conservative. Options include identifying and removing the compression if it is external, nonsteroidal inflammatory medication, manual therapy, and/or topical treatment with capsaicin cream. Treatments for intractable cases include injection of corticosteroids or local anesthetics, pulsed radiofrequency, electroacupuncture, and surgery. Military medical care providers may see cases of MP, especially if they are involved with units that perform regular operations involving load carriage.

Prolonged Field Care of a Casualty With Penetrating Chest Trauma


Barnhart G, Cullinan W, Pickett JR. 16(4). 99 - 101. (Case Reports)

As Special Operations mission sets shift to regions with less coalition medical infrastructure, the need for quality long-term field care has increased. More and more, Special Operations Medics will be expected to maintain casualties in the field well past the "golden hour" with limited resources and other tactical limitations. This case report describes an extended-care scenario (>12 hours) of a casualty with a chest wound, from point of injury to eventual casualty evacuation and hand off at a Role II facility. This case demonstrates the importance of long-term tactical medical considerations and the effectiveness of minimal fluid resuscitation in treating penetrating thoracic trauma.

The Hidden Complexity of Biological "Dirty Bombs": Implications for Special Operations Medical Personnel


Washington MA, Blythe J. 16(4). 82 - 84. (Journal Article)

The recent capture of a terrorist in Belgium carrying explosives, fecal matter, and animal tissue may indicate a shift from conventional weapons to crude bacteriological preparations as instruments of terror. It is important to note that although such weapons lack technological sophistication, bacteria are inherently complex, unpredictable, and undetectable in the field. Therefore, it is important that Special Operations medical personnel understand the complications that such seemingly simple devices can add to the treatment of casualties in the field and subsequent evaluation in the clinic.

Continuous One-Arm Kettlebell Swing Training on Physiological Parameters in US Air Force Personnel: A Pilot Study


Wade M, O'Hara R, Caldwell L, Ordway J, Bryant D. 16(4). 41 - 47. (Journal Article)

Background: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effects of continuous one-arm kettlebell (KB) swing training on various US Air Force physical fitness testing components. Thirty trained male (n = 15) and female (n = 15) US Air Force (USAF) personnel volunteered and were sequentially assigned to one of three groups based on 1.5-mile run time: (1) KB one-arm swing training, (2) KB one-arm swing training plus highintensity running (KB + run), and (3) traditional USAF physical training (PT) according to Air Force Instruction 36-2905. Methods: The following measurements were made before and after 10 weeks of training: 1.5-mile run, 1-minute maximal push-ups, 1-minute maximal situps, maximal grip strength, pro agility, vertical jump, 40-yard dash, bodyweight, and percent body fat. Subjects attended three supervised exercise sessions per week for 10 weeks. During each exercise session, all groups performed a 10-minute dynamic warm-up followed by either (1) 10 minutes of continuous KB swings, (2) 10 minutes of continuous kettlebell swings plus 10 minutes of high-intensity running, or (3) 20 minutes of moderate intensity running plus push-ups and sit-ups. Average and peak heart rate were recorded for each subject after all sessions. Paired t tests were conducted to detect changes from pretesting to posttesting within each group and analysis of variance was used to compare between-group variability (ρ ≤ .05). Results: Twenty subjects completed the study. There were no statistically significant changes in 1.5-mile run time between or within groups. The 40- yard dash significantly improved within the KB swing (ρ ≤ .05) and KB + run group (ρ ≤ .05); however, there were no significant differences in the traditional PT group (ρ ≤ .05) or between groups. Maximal push-ups significantly improved in the KB + run group (ρ ≤ .05) and trends toward significant improvements in maximal push-ups were found in both the KB (ρ = .057) and traditional PT (ρ = .067) groups. Conclusions: This study suggests that continuous KB swing training may be used by airmen as a high-intensity, low-impact alternative to traditional USAF PT to maintain aerobic fitness and improve speed and maximal push-ups.