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Featured Articles

Fall 2015

Frostbite: A Novel Presentation of Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency?

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Bowles JM, Joas C, Head S. 15(3). 1 - 3. (Case Reports)

Abstract

Acute hemolytic anemia (AHA) due to glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency has rarely been recognized as a contributor to the development of frostbite. We discuss a case of frostbite in a 32-year-old male Marine with G6PD deficiency during military training on Mount Mckinley in Alaska, which eventually led to a permanent disability. In this report, the pathophysiology of G6PD deficiency, the effects of hemolytic anemia, and factors that contribute to frostbite will be discussed, as well as the clinical findings, treatment course, and the outcome of this case. The patient was evacuated and admitted to Alaska Regional Hospital. He was treated for fourth-degree frostbite, ultimately resulting in the complete or partial amputation of all toes. Although it cannot be proved that AHA occurred in this patient, this case potentially adds frostbite to the list of rare but possible clinical presentations of G6PD deficiency.

Keywords: G6PD Deficiency; frostbite; acetazolamide; acute hemolytic anemia; oxidative stress; reactive oxygen species

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Evaluation for Testosterone Deficiency

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Grumbo R, Haight D. 15(3). 4 - 9. (Journal Article)

Abstract

There has been a recent increase in the number of Operators presenting to clinics for evaluation of possible low testosterone. In response, USASOC recently released an Androgen Deficiency Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) to help guide providers through the initial evaluation and treatment of patients. The diagnosis of hypogonadism is based on consistent signs and symptoms of androgen deficiency and unequivocally low serum testosterone (below 300ng/dL). Testosterone levels can change for a variety of reasons and an adequate evaluation requires multiple laboratory tests over a period of time. If a diagnosis of hypogonadism is confirmed, differentiating between primary and secondary hypogonadism can help guide further care. Testosterone replacement therapy options are available, but careful monitoring for side-effects is required. Controversy still exists surrounding the safety of testosterone replacement therapy, and referral to endocrinology should strongly be considered before initiating treatment.

Keywords: testosterone; hypogonadism; Low T

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Emergency Cricothyroidotomy in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

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Mabry RL, Frankfurt A, Kharod C, Butler FK. 15(3). 11 - 19. (Journal Article)

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Junctional Tourniquet Training Experience

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Kragh JF, Geracci JJ, Parsons DL, Robinson JB, Biever KA, Rein EB, Glassberg E, Strandenes G, Chen J, Benov A, Marcozzi D, Shackelford S, Cox KM, Mann-Salinas EA. 15(3). 20 - 30. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Since 2009, out-of-hospital care of junctional hemorrhage bleeding from the trunk-appendage junctions has changed, in part, due to the newly available junctional tourniquets (JTs) that have been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration. Given four new models of JT available in 2014, several military services have begun to acquire, train, or even use such JTs in care. The ability of users to be trained in JT use has been observed by multiple instructors. The experience of such instructors has been broad as a group, but their experience as individuals has been neither long nor deep. A gathering into one source of the collective experience of trainers of JT users could permit a collation of useful information to include lessons learned, tips in skill performance, identification of pitfalls of use to avoid, and strategies to optimize user learning. The purpose of the present review is to record the experiences of several medical personnel in their JT training of users to provide a guide for future trainers.

Keywords: hemorrhage; resuscitation; medical device; education; skill development; emergency medical services

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The Operational Canine and K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Initiative

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Palmer LE, Maricle R, Brenner J. 15(3). 32 - 38. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: Approximately 20% to 25% of traumarelated, prehospital fatalities in humans are due to preventable deaths. Data are lacking, however, on the nature and the prevalence of operational canine (OC) prehospital deaths. It is plausible that OCs engaged in high-threat operations are also at risk for suffering some type of preventable death. Tactical Combat Casualty Care has significantly reduced human fatality rates on the battlefield. Standardized guidelines specifically for prehospital trauma care have not been developed for the OC caregiver. An initiation has been approved by the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care to form a K9-Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) working group to develop such guidelines. Significance: The intent of the K9-TECC initiative is to form best practice recommendations for the civilian high-risk OC caregiver. These recommendations are to focus on interventions that (1) eliminate the major causes of canine out-of-hospital preventable deaths, (2) are easily learned and applied by any civilian first responder, and (2) minimize resource consumption.

Keywords: canine; trauma; preventable death; Tactical Emergency Casualty Care; K9-TECC; guidelines

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Conceptualized Use of Self-Expanding Foam to Rescue Special Operators From Abdominal Exsanguination: Percutaneous Damage Control for the Forward Deployed

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Rago AP, Sharma U, Sims K, King DR. 15(3). 39 - 45. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: Noncompressible hemorrhage is the leading cause of potentially survivable death on the battlefield. In Special Operations Forces (SOF), 50% of potentially survivable deaths have been related to noncompressible hemorrhage. Currently, there are no widely available presurgical interventions that can slow abdominal bleeding. Consequently, many of the preventable deaths occur en route to definitive care as a failure to rescue from exsanguination. A self-expanding polyurethane foam has been developed as a percutaneous damage control intervention to rescue casualties who would otherwise die of noncompressible hemorrhage, and allow them to survive long enough to reach surgical intervention. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the existing preclinical data, describe the role of SOF personnel in foam delivery-system development, and to integrate these together to conceptualize how foam could be incorporated into SOF medical care. Methods: All existing publications on self-expanding foam are reviewed. Additionally, eight SOF medical providers with combat experience provided end-user input to delivery-device design through an interactive human-factors testing process. Results: Ten preclinical publications described efficacy, safety, dose translation, and risk-benefit analysis of exsanguination rescue with percutaneous-foam damage control. SOF medical providers guided weight, cubic, operational requirements, and limits for the foam delivery device. Conclusion: Presurgical exsanguination rescue with percutaneous foam damage control is safe and effective with a favorable risk-benefit profile in preclinical studies. Battlefield, presurgical use by SOF medical providers is conceptually possible. Adoption of the technology on the battlefield should proceed with SOF medical provider input.

Keywords: hemorrhage; noncompressable; bleeding; foam; advanced medic; abdominal; austere; ResQFoam

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The Ranger First Responder Program and Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Implementation: A Whole-Community Approach to Reducing Mortality From Active Violent Incidents

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Fisher AD, Callaway DW, Robertson JN, Hardwick SA, Bobko JP, Kotwal RS. 15(3). 46 - 53. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Active violent incidents are dynamic and challenging situations that can produce a significant amount of preventable deaths. Lessons learned from the military's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq through the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and the 75th Ranger Regiment's Ranger First Responder Program have helped create the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC) to address the uniqueness of similar wounding patterns and to end preventable deaths. We propose a whole-community approach to active violent incidents, using the C-TECC Trauma Chain of Survival and a tiered approach for training and responsibilities: the first care provider, nonmedical professional first responders, medical first responders, and physicians and trauma surgeons. The different tiers are critical early links in the Chain of Survival and this approach will have a significant impact on active violent incidents.

Keywords: Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care; Ranger First Responder Program; Committee on Emergency Casualty Care; wounding patterns; Chain of Survival; preventable death

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Kitona 2013: A Medical Readiness Training Exercise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Leading to Lion Rouge

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Hesse E, Okito EA, Mann K, McCullough M, Lesho E. 15(3). 54 - 59. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: Health initiatives support regional stability and are a priority for US and African partners. We present data and experience from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a strategically and epidemiologically ideal location for collaborative medical engagement (CME). Our objectives included relationship building, exposure of US military medical personnel to uncommon tropical diseases, bolstering a referral hospital, and updating Congolese physicians on new treatment or preventive standards of care. Methods: We conducted a CMEstyled medical readiness training exercise (MEDRETE) at the Military Referral Hospital of Kitona in June 2013. US and Congolese healthcare providers presented 20 lectures and evaluated 158 patients collaboratively; 132 for infections. Results: The CME led to Lion Rouge, the first joint military, multidisciplinary engagement between the respective militaries. Equally noteworthy is that some of the same participants returned to the same location for the follow-on exercise, providing continuity. Conclusion: These outcomes suggest the MEDRETE and CME approaches were successful.

Keywords: exercise; medical; MEDRETE; needs assessment; Democratic Republic of the Congo

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What Is the Optimal Device Length and Insertion Site for Needle Thoracostomy in UK Military Casualties? A Computed Tomography Study

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Blenkinsop G, Mossadegh S, Ballard M, Parker P. 15(3). 60 - 65. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Significant lessons to inform best practice in trauma care should be learned from the last decade of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. This study used radiological data collated in the UK Military Hospital in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to investigate the most appropriate device length for needle chest decompression of tension pneumothorax (TP). We reviewed the optimal length of device and site needed for needle decompression of a tension pneumothorax in a UK military population and found no significant difference between sites for needle chest decompression (NCD). As a result, we do not recommend use of devices longer than 60mm for UK service personnel.

Keywords: decompression, chest; thoracostomy, needle; UK military

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Associations Among Back and Extremity Pain With Alcohol, Tobacco, and Caffeine Use Among US Air Force Pararescuemen

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Bryan CJ, Wolfe AL, Morrow CE, Stephenson JA, Haskell J, Bryan AO. 15(3). 66 - 71. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are the most widely used substances globally, but the majority of research on the associations among legal substance use and physical health has focused on the general population, not elite military personnel. The purpose of the current study was to describe patterns of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine use and to examine the relationship of legal substance use with self-reported physical health complaints among US Air Force Pararescuemen (PJs) and Combat Rescue Officers (CROs). Methods: Participants were 196 US PJs and CROs. Participants completed self-report measures of legal drug use and somatic symptoms. Generalized linear modeling with robust maximum likelihood estimation was used for multivariate regression analyses. Chi-square analyses were conducted for univariate comparisons of categorical variables. Results: Reported rates of tobacco use (28.2%), alcohol consumption (83.2%), and regular caffeine consumption (88.8%) were similar to the general population. Daily caffeine intake was significantly higher among participants reporting they were bothered a lot by back pain [Wald χ²(2) = 11.39; ρ = .003] and extremity pain [Wald χ²(2) = 11.39; ρ = .003], even when controlling for age and deployment history. Participants with severe extremity pain also reported drinking approximately twice as many alcoholic beverages per week (mean, 5.46; standard error [SE], 0.91) than participants who were bothered a little (mean, 2.88; SE, 0.54) or not bothered at all (mean, 2.88; SE, 0.52) by extremity pain. Conclusion: Back and extremity pain is associated with greater caffeine and alcohol consumption among PJs.

Keywords: military; caffeine; alcohol; tobacco; pain; Pararescuemen

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Resuscitation During Critical Care Transportation in Afghanistan

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Tobin JM, Nordmann GR, Kuncir EJ. 15(3). 72 - 75. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Objective: These data describe the critical care procedures performed on, and the resuscitation markers of, critically wounded personnel in Afghanistan following point of injury (POI) transports and intratheater transports. Providing this information may help inform discussion on the design of critical care transportation platforms for future conflicts. Methods: The Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DoDTR) was queried for descriptive data on combat casualties with Injury Severity Score (ISS) greater than 15 who were transported in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010. Both POI transportation events and interfacility transportation events were reviewed. Base deficit (BD) was evaluated as a maker of resuscitation, and international normalized ratio (INR) was evaluated as a measure of coagulopathy. Results: There were 1198 transportation events that occurred during the study period - 634 (53%) transports from the POI and 564 (47%) intratheater transports. Critical care interventions were performed during 147 (12.3%) transportation events, including intubation, cricothyrotomy, double-lumen endotracheal tube placement, needle or tube thoracostomy, central venous access placement, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The mean BD on arrival in the emergency department was -5.4 mEq/L for POI transports and 0.68 mEq/L intratheater transports (ρ < .001). The mean INR on arrival in the emergency department was 1.48 for POI transports and 1.21 for intratheater transports (ρ < .001). Conclusions: Critical care interventions were needed frequently during evacuation of severely injured personnel. Furthermore, many troops arrived acidotic and coagulopathic following initial transport from POI. Together, these data suggest that a platform capable of damage control resuscitation and critical care interventions may be warranted on longer transports of more critically injured patients.

Keywords: transportation; critical care; resuscitation, trauma; damage control; emergency medical services; care, out-of-hospital

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Prolonged Field Care Working Group Position Paper: Prolonged Field Care Capabilities

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Ball JA, Keenan S. 15(3). 76 - 77. (Journal Article)

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Prolonged Field Care Working Group Position Paper: Operational Context for Prolonged Field Care

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Mohr CJ, Keenan S. 15(3). 78 - 80. (Journal Article)

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Tourniquet Conversion: A Recommended Approach in the Prolonged Field Care Setting

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Drew B, Bird D, Matteucci M, Keenan S. 15(3). 81 - 85. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Life-saving interventions take precedence over diagnostic maneuvers in the Care Under Fire stage of Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The immediate threat to life with an actively hemorrhaging extremity injury is addressed with the liberal and proper use of tourniquets. The emphasis on hemorrhage control has and will continue to result in the application of tourniquets that may not be needed past the Care Under Fire stage. As soon as tactically allowable, all tourniquets must be reassessed for conversion. Reassessment of all tourniquets should occur as soon as the tactical situation permits, but no more than 2 hours after initial placement. This article describes a procedure for qualified and trained medical personnel to safely convert extremity tourniquets to local wound dressings, using a systematic process in the field setting.

Keywords: prolonged field care; tourniquets; tourniquet conversion; Tactical Combat Casualty Care

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Care of the Burn Casualty in the Prolonged Field Care Environment

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Studer NM, Driscoll IR, Daly IM, Graybill JC. 15(3). 86 - 93. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Burns are frequently encountered on the modern battlefield, with 5% - 20% of combat casualties expected to sustain some burn injury. Addressing immediate lifethreatening conditions in accordance with the MARCH protocol (massive hemorrhage, airway, respirations, circulation, hypothermia/head injury) remains the top priority for burn casualties. Stopping the burning process, total burn surface area (TBSA) calculation, fluid resuscitation, covering the wounds, and hypothermia management are the next steps. If transport to definitive care is delayed and the prolonged field care stage is entered, the provider must be prepared to provide for the complex resuscitation and wound care needs of a critically ill burn casualty.

Keywords: burn injury; inhalation injury; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; prolonged field care; Silverlon; Water-Jel; Burntec

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Journal Club: Ketamine in the Emergency Department

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Banting J, Beriano T. 15(3). 94 - 97. (Journal Article)

Abstract

In this column of Clinical Corner, we are going to switch things up a little. We are going to review a journal article that is applicable to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medic. We plan on continuing to present clinically relevant cases, but every so often an article is published that we simply must take a deeper look at.

Keywords: ketamine; pain, acute

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Androgens and Androgen Derivatives: Science, Myths, and Theories. Explored From a Special Operations Perspective

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Givens ML, Deuster PA. 15(3). 98 - 104. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Androgen use outside of legitimate medical therapy is a perceived concern that is drawing attention across military and specifically Special Operations Forces (SOF) communities. For leadership and the medical community to properly address the issue and relate to those individuals who are using or considering use, it will be crucial to understand the scope of the problem. Limited data suggest that the prevalence of androgen use may be increasing, and inferences made from the scientific literature suggest that SOF may be a population of concern. While risks of androgen use are well known, there are little data specific to military performance that can be applied to a rigorous risk:benefit analysis, allowing myths and poorly supported theories to perpetuate within the community. Further efforts to define the potential benefits balanced against the short- and longterm risks should be undertaken. Providers within the SOF community should arm themselves with information to engage androgen users and leadership in meaningful discussion regarding androgen use.

Keywords: androgen steroids; protein building

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Rabies: 2015 Update

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Burnett MW. 15(3). 105 - 107. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Rabies is an almost universally fatal viral disease transmitted to humans primarily by bites and scratches from infected animals, and less commonly through other routes, including transplantation of infected organs, exposure to infected neural tissue, and possibly through airborne and aerosolized routes. This disease is endemic to all continents worldwide except Antarctica, and only a few islands elsewhere can be considered "rabies free." Special Operations Forces medical providers should be aware of this disease. Prevention and recognition of risk are key due to its extreme lethality.

Keywords: rabies, vaccine

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Extreme Conditioning Programs: Potential Benefits and Potential Risks

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Knapik JJ. 15(3). 108 - 113. (Journal Article)

Abstract

CrossFit, Insanity, Gym Jones, and P90X are examples of extreme conditioning programs (ECPs). ECPs typically involve high-volume and high-intensity physical activities with short rest periods between movements and use of multiple joint exercises. Data on changes in fitness with ECPs are limited to CrossFit investigations that demonstrated improvements in muscle strength, muscular endurance, aerobic fitness, and body composition. However, no study has directly compared Cross-Fit or other ECPs to other more traditional forms of aerobic and resistance training within the same investigation. These direct comparisons are needed to more adequately evaluate the effectiveness of ECPs. Until these studies emerge, the comparisons with available literature suggest that improvements in CrossFit, in terms of muscular endurance (push-ups, sit-ups), strength, and aerobic capacity, appear to be similar to those seen in more traditional training programs. Investigations of injuries in ECPs are limited to two observational studies that suggest that the overall injury rate is similar to that seen in other exercise programs. Several cases of rhabdomyolysis and cervical carotid artery dissections have been reported during CrossFit training. The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of these are reviewed here. Until more data on ECPs emerge, physical training should be aligned with US Army doctrine. If ECPs are included in exercise programs, trainers should (1) have appropriate training certifications, (2) inspect exercise equipment regularly to assure safety, (3) introduce ECPs to new participants, (4) ensure medical clearance of Soldiers with special health problems before participation in ECPs, (4) tailor ECPs to the individual Soldier, (5) adjust rest periods to optimize recovery and reduce fatigue, (6) monitor Soldiers for signs of overtraining, rhabdomyolysis, and other problems, and (7) coordinate exercise programs with other unit training activities to eliminate redundant activities and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.

Keywords: exercise; physical conditioning; extreme conditioning program; CrossFit

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This Is Africa

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Verlo AR, Bailey HH, Cook MR. 15(3). 114 - 119. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Military deployments will always result in exposure to health hazards other than those from combat operations. The occupational and environmental health and endemic disease health risks are greater to the Special Operations Forces (SOF) deployed to the challenging conditions in Africa than elsewhere in the world. SOF are deployed to locations that lack life support infrastructures that have become standard for most military deployments; instead, they rely on local resources to sustain operations. Particularly, SOF in Africa do not generally have access to advanced diagnostic or monitoring capabilities or to medical treatment in austere locations that lack environmental or public health regulation. The keys to managing potential adverse health effects lie in identifying and documenting the health hazards and exposures, characterizing the associated risks, and communicating the risks to commanders, deployed personnel, and operational planners.

Keywords: Africa; health risk assessment; food and water ; occupational and environmental health; site survey

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Knife Edge: Life as a Special Forces Surgeon

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Farr W. 15(3). 120 - 120. (Book Review)

Abstract

Villar, Richard. Knife Edge. Life as a Special Forces Surgeon.
Windmill Hill, United Kingdom: Vineyard Press; 1997.
Paperback, 310 pages, ISBN 0-9542203-0-7.

"I always wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. Even more so if I could make a small contribution to the bigger effort."

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Kragh JF. 15(3). 124 - 125. (Interview)

Abstract

-MSG Harold "Monty" Montgomery on a Career as a Special Operations Forces Medic

Public Access Hemorrhage Control and the Stop the Bleeding Coalition

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Levy MJ. 15(3). 126 - 128. (Journal Article)

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TCCC Updates: Tactical Combat Casualty Care Guidelines for Medical Personnel: 3 June 2015

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Anonymous A. 15(3). 129 - 147. (Classical Conference)

TacMed Updates: The Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care: Fall Update

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Callaway DW, Smith R, Shapiro G, McKay SD, Kamin R. 15(3). 148 - 152. (Classical Conference)