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Featured Articles

Summer 2017

Foreign Language Short Course: Special Operations Clinical Research Fundamentals

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Rocklein-Kemplin K, Bowling F. 17(2). 12 - 17. (Journal Article)

Abstract

When we do not know a language, we are at the mercy of an interpreter. The same is true for research: Special Operations Forces (SOF) clinicians not actively involved in research initiatives may rely on scientific interpreters, so it is important to speak some of the language personally. For any clinician, using evidence in practice requires a working knowledge of how that evidence was generated from research, which requires an understanding of research science language. Here we review common basics of research science to reinforce concepts and elements of experimental and nonexperimental research.

Keywords: research; statistics; statistical analysis

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TCCC Guidelines Comprehensive Review and Update: TCCC Guidelines Change 16-03

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Montgomery HR, Butler FK, Kerr W, Conklin CC, Morissette DM, Remley MA, Shaw TA, Rich TA. 17(2). 21 - 38. (Classical Conference)

Abstract

Based on careful review of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Guidelines, the authors developed a list of proposed changes for inclusion in a comprehensive change proposal. To be included in the proposal, individual changes had to meet at least one of three criteria: (1) The change was primarily tactical rather than clinical; (2) the change was a minor modification to the language of an existing TCCC Guideline; and (3) the change, though clinical, was straightforward and noncontentious. The authors presented their list to the TCCC Working Group for review and approval at the 7 September 2016 meeting of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC). Twenty-three items met with general agreement and were retained in this change proposal.

Keywords: Tactical Combat Casualty Care; TCCC; T3; Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines; TCCC Guidelines Comprehensive Review and Update; battlefield trauma care; Role 1 Care

Assessment of Trainer Skill to Control Groin-Wound Bleeding: Use of Junctional Tourniquet Models on a Manikin

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Kragh JF, Aden JK, Shackelford S, Moore VK, Dubick MA. 17(2). 39 - 48. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the skills of trainers using different junctional tourniquet models to control groin bleeding in a manikin. Materials and Methods: In 204 assessments, 17 trainers used four junctional tourniquet models three times each to control simulated hemorrhage. The models included the Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC), Junctional Emergency Treatment Tool (JETT), Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet (AAJT), and SAM Junctional Tourniquet (SJT). The criteria of assessment included effectiveness (i.e., control [yes-no]), time to stop bleeding, total blood loss, and bleeding rate. Results: All uses were effective. By model, the results of mean blood loss and time to stop bleeding were different with varying levels of statistical significance: control was worst with the JETT and AAJT, moderate with the AAJT and SJT, and best with the SJT and CRoC. The means sharing a level were not significantly different, but a mean in more than one level was not different from itself. The composite outcome results were 90% good for CRoC and 67% good for JETT, whereas results for the SJT and AAJT were in between, and only the result of the CROC and JETT comparison was significant. The ease of use varied significantly; JETT was more difficult to use and all others were easier. The analysis attributed to the users 19% of the variance of results for time, 44% for blood loss volume, and 67% for bleeding rate. Most users preferred the SJT (53% before and 70% after assessment). Conclusion: Effectiveness was attained by all users with each of the four models of junctional tourniquet. The analysis demonstrated that up to 67% of the variance of performance results could be attributed to the users.

Keywords: tourniquet; hemorrhage prevention and control; shock; damage control; resuscitation; emergency medical services; education; standards; methods; military medicine; medical device; first aid; inguinal

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A Prospective Randomized Controlled Two-Arm Clinical Study Evaluating the Efficacy of a Bioelectric Dressing System for Blister Management in US Army Ranger Recruits

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Housler GJ, Cross S, Marcel V, Kennedy DO, Husband M, Register A, Roberts T, Grubbs S, Dudewicz D, Setka n, Bay C, Wendelken ME, Izadjoo MJ. 17(2). 49 - 58. (Journal Article)

Abstract

This study focused on a clinically relevant healthcare problem in the military: acute soft tissue wounds, or blisters. The trial was a prospective, controlled, randomized two-arm study evaluating the efficacy of a bioelectric dressing, Procellera®, applied topically two to three times per week for 2 weeks to blisters developed in Ranger trainees during training at Fort Benning, Georgia. A total of 80 US Army Ranger recruits with blister wounds below the knee were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (n = 40/group). The primary goal was to assess the clinical efficacy (rate of healing) of administered Procellera in conjunction with the standard-of-care (SOC) treatment, moleskin and Tegaderm ®, on the healing rate of blisters compared with the SOC treatment alone. The secondary end points for efficacy were the quantities of wound fluid biomarkers and bacterial bioburden. The tertiary end point was assessment of pain in the treatment group compared with that of the control group during the 2-week study. The results showed no statistical difference between the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups in wound healing and pain. Wound fluid was reported for 24 participants (64.9%) in the SOC group and 21 participants (56.8%) in SOC+Procellera group at the baseline measurement (ρ = .475); however, the wounds were devoid of fluid on follow-up visits. The mild nature of the wounds in this study was apparent by the low pain scores at the beginning of the study, which disappeared by the follow-up visits. The average wound sizes were 2.2cm2 and 1.5cm2 for the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups, respectively. This trial protocol should be conducted on open softtissue wounds in severe heat. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical study conducted within the US Army Rangers training doctrine.

Keywords: canines; K9s; Operational K9s; Tactical Emergency Casualty Care; Procellera®; dressing, bioelectric; wound, acute; Rangers

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Rapid Vision Correction by Special Operations Forces

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Reynolds ME. 17(2). 60 - 64. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: This report describes a rapid method of vision correction used by Special Operations Medics in multiple operational engagements. Methods: Between 2011 and 2015, Special Operations Medics used an algorithm- driven refraction technique. A standard block of instruction was provided to the medics, along with a packaged kit. The technique was used in multiple operational engagements with host nation military and civilians. Data collected for program evaluation were later analyzed to assess the utility of the technique. Results: Glasses were distributed to 230 patients with complaints of either decreased distance or near (reading). Most patients (84%) with distance complaints achieved corrected binocular vision of 20/40 or better, and 97% of patients with near-vision complaints achieved corrected near-binocular vision of 20/40 or better. There was no statistically significant difference between the percentages of patients achieving 20/40 when medics used the technique under direct supervision versus independent use. Conclusion: A basic refraction technique using a designed kit allows for meaningful improvement in distance and/or near vision at austere locations. Special Operations Medics can leverage this approach after specific training with minimal time commitment. It can serve as a rapid, effective intervention with multiple applications in diverse operational environments.

Keywords: visual impariment; refractive error; vision; presbyopia

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The Role I Resuscitation Team and Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta

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Fisher AD, Teeter WA, Cordova CB, Brenner ML, Szczepanski MP, Miles EA, Galante JM, DuBose JJ, Rasmussen TE. 17(2). 65 - 73. (Journal Article)

Abstract

The medical advancements made during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in an unprecedented survival rate, yet there is still a significant number of deaths that were potentially survivable. Additionally, the ability to deliver casualties to definitive surgical care within the "golden hour" is diminishing in many areas of conflict. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) has been implemented successfully in the hospital setting. REBOA may be a possible adjunct for the Role I and point-of-injury (POI) care to provide temporary control of noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) and junctional hemorrhage. Here the authors advocate for the development of the Role I Resuscitation Team (RT) and a training pathway to meet the challenge of the changing battlefield

Keywords: Tactical Combat Casualty Care; TCCC; resuscitation; resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta; REBOA; hemorrhage; shock

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

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords: prolonged field care; austere environments; deployed preparation

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Albumin for Prehospital Fluid Resuscitation of Hemorrhagic Shock in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

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Studer NM, April MD, Bowling F, Danielson PD, Cap AP. 17(2). 82 - 88. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Optimal fluid resuscitation on the battlefield in the absence of blood products remains unclear. Contemporary Combat medics are generally limited to hydroxyethyl starch or crystalloid solutions, both of which present significant drawbacks. Obtaining US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved freeze-dried plasma (FDP) is a top casualty care research priority for the US Military. Interest in this agent reflects a desire to simultaneously expand intravascular volume and address coagulopathy. The history of FDP dates to the Second World War, when American expeditionary forces used this agent frequently. Also fielded was 25% albumin, an agent that lacks coagulation factors but offers impressive volume expansion with minimal weight to carry and requires no reconstitution in the field. The current potential value of 25% albumin is largely overlooked. Although FDP presents an attractive future option for battlefield prehospital fluid resuscitation once FDA approved, this article argues that in the interim, 25% albumin, augmented with fibrinogen concentrate and tranexamic acid to mitigate hemodilution effects on coagulation capacity, offers an effective volume resuscitation alternative that could save lives on the battlefield immediately.

Keywords: albumin; fluid resuscitation; Hextend®; colloid; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; prolonged field care

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Manikin Human-Patient Simulator Training

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Horn GT, Bowling F, Lowe DE, Parimore JG, Stagliano DR, Studer NM. 17(2). 89 - 95. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: Human-patient simulators (HPSs) may help enhance medical education. Manikin HPS devices respond to common field medical interventions, such as cricothyroidotomy, and have realistic feedback features, such as respirations and pulses. This study surveys Special Operations Medics for evaluations of HPS features. Methods: Of 518 subjects, 376 completed testing and surveys with valid responses. A total of 102 variables were divided into three categories-general characteristics, procedures, and injuries-and assessed on a fivepoint Likert scale. The Student t test was used to analyze data together and as separate groups against each other and against an aggregated mean. Results: Features that received high scores (i.e., higher than 4.5/5) corresponded closely with pillars of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum, basic life support, and realism. Discussion: US Army Special Operations Command and US Special Operations Command Medics have overall high confidence in manikin HPS devices and specifically in those that align with TCCC training and lifesaving procedures. The skills most valued coincide with difficult-to-practice measures, such as cricothyroidotomy and wound packing. Features such as prerecorded sounds, sex, automated movements, skin color, defibrillation, bowel sounds, and electrocardiogram are rated lower. These evaluations may guide future development or procurement of manikin HPS devices.

Keywords: human-patient simulator; manikin; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; training

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Intubation of the Right Atrium During an Attempted Modified Surgical Airway in a Pig

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Bowman J, Juergens A, McClure M, Spear D. 17(2). 96 - 100. (Journal Article)

Abstract

In modern medicine, the surgical cricothyrotomy is an airway procedure of last resort. In austere environments, however, its simplicity may make it a more feasible option than carrying a full complement of laryngoscopes. To create a Transportation Security Agency-compliant compact first-response bag, we attempted to establish a surgical cricothyrotomy in a pig, using trauma shears, basic medical scissors, a pocket bougie, and an endotracheal tube. Bougies can provide tactile feedback via the "tracheal ring sign" and "stop sign" to indicate positive tracheal placement during orotracheal intubation. We report on a previously unknown serious potential complication that questions the use of scissors to establish a surgical airway and the reliability of tactile bougie signs when translated into certain surgical airways.

Keywords: emergency cricothyrotomy; cannot intubate-cannot ventilate; prehospital airway management

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QuikClot® Combat Gauze® Use by Ground Forces in Afghanistan The Prehospital Trauma Registry Experience

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Schauer SG, April MD, Naylor JF, Fisher AD, Cunningham CW, Ryan KL, Thomas KC, Brillhart DB, Fernandez JD, Antonacci MA. 17(2). 101 - 106. (Journal Article)

Abstract

Background: QuikClot® Combat Gauze® (QCCG) was fielded in 2008 to replace previous generations of hemostatic products. To the best of our knowledge, despite nearly a decade of use, there are no published data on use among US combatant forces. We describe the use of QCCG by ground forces in Afghanistan and compare patients who received QCCG compared with the remaining population in the database who did not receive QCCG. Methods: Data were obtained from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR). Joint Trauma System personnel linked patients to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for outcome data, when available, upon reaching a fixed facility. Results: Of the 705 patients within the entire PHTR, 118 (16.7%) had documented use of QCCG. Most patients (69.5%) were Afghan; all were male. Lower extremities accounted for the most common site of application (39.7%). Hemorrhage control occurred in 88.3% of encounters with hemorrhage control status documented. Patients receiving QCCG generally had higher rates of concomitant interventions. Of the 705 patients, 190 were linkable to the DODTR for outcome data; 25 of the 28 (89.3%) in the QCCG group were discharged alive compared with 153 of the 162 (94.4%) in the non-QCCG group (ρ = .300). Conclusion: QCCG appears to have common use on the battlefield as a concomitant intervention for obtaining hemorrhage control. Patients receiving QCCG had higher rates of gunshot wounds compared with the baseline population and were generally sicker. Hemorrhage control success was like that reported in other military and civilian settings.

Keywords: hemorrhage; gauze; combat; military; QuikClot®; hemostatic; combat

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Headache

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Banting J, Meriano T. 17(2). 108 - 111. (Journal Article)

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Ketones and Human Performance

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords: ketosis; ketones; diet, ketogenic; ketone supplement; performance

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Mumps

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Burnett MW. 17(2). 117 - 119. (Journal Article)

Keywords: mumps; infectious disease

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

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords: stress fracture; risk factors; diagnosis; treatment

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Prolonged Field Care for the Summer 2017 Edition

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Keenan S. 17(2). 131 - 131. (Journal Article)

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Acute Traumatic Wound Management in the Prolonged Field Care Setting

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Rapp J, Plackett TP, Crane J, Lu J, Hall A, Hardin D, Loos PE, Kelly R, Murray CK, Keenan S, Shackelford S. 17(2). 132 - 149. (Journal Article)

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Easy Scan and Easy Fix for the Shoulder Injury in a Difficult Environment

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Urbaniak MK, Hampton K. 17(2). 150 - 150. (Journal Article)

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An Interview With SOMA President Steven Viola, SOCM, ATP, NREMT-P

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Pennardt A. 17(2). 151 - 152. (Interview)

Abstract

Interviewed by COL (Ret) Andre Pennardt, MD

Keywords: interviews; Viola, Steven

Introduction to the Unconventional Medicine Series

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Hetzler MR. 17(2). 153 - 153. (Journal Article)

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Maggot Therapy for Wound Care in Austere Environments

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Sherman RA, Hetzler MR. 17(2). 154 - 162. (Journal Article)

Abstract

The past 25 years have seen an increase in use of maggot therapy for wound care. Maggot therapy is very effective in wound debridement; it is simple to apply and requires very little in the way of resources, costs, or skilled personnel. These characteristics make it well suited for use in austere environments. The use of medical-grade maggots makes maggot therapy nearly risk free, but medical grade maggots may not always be available, especially in the wilderness or in resource-limited communities. By understanding myiasis and fly biology, it should be possible even for the nonentomologist to obtain maggots from the wild and apply them therapeutically, with minimal risks.

Keywords: maggot; maggot therapy; wound; wound care; austere; field hospital

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Guerrilla Warfare on the Amber Coast

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Farr WD. 17(2). 164 - 164. (Book Review)

Abstract

Tauras KV, Cherne L. Guerrilla Warfare on the Amber Coast. New York, NY: Lithuanian Research Institute, Voyages Press; 1962. Hardback, 121 pages. ASIN: B06XGNDM5K (ISBN-10: 1258496593 / ISBN-13: 978-1258496593 for newer reprints). Review by COL (Ret) Warner "Rocky" D. Farr, MD, MPH

TCCC Updates: Two Decades of Saving Lives on the Battlefield: Tactical Combat Casualty Care Turns 20

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Butler FK. 17(2). 166 - 172. (Classical Conference)

Abstract

Background: Twenty years ago, the original Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) article was published in this journal. Since TCCC is essentially a set of bestpractice prehospital trauma care guidelines customized for use on the battlefield, the presence of a journal with a specific focus on military medicine was a profound benefit to the initial presentation of TCCC to the US Military. Methods: In the two ensuing decades, which included the longest continuous period of armed conflict in our nation's history, TCCC steadily evolved as the prehospital trauma care evidence base was augmented and as feedback from user medics, corpsmen, and pararescuemen was obtained. Findings: TCCC has taken a leadership role in advocating for battlefield trauma care advances such as the aggressive use of tourniquets and hemostatic dressings to control lifethreatening external hemorrhage; improved fluid resuscitation techniques for casualties in hemorrhagic shock; increased emphasis on airway positioning and surgical airways to manage the traumatized airway; faster, safer, and more effective battlefield analgesia; the increased use of intraosseous vascular access when needed; battlefield antibiotics; and combining good medicine with good small-unit tactics. With the continuing assistance of Military Medicine, these advances and the evidence base that supports them have been presented to TCCC stakeholders. Discussion/Impact: Now-20 years later-TCCC has been documented to produce unprecedented decreases in preventable combat death in military units that have trained all of their members in TCCC. As a result of this proven success, TCCC has become the standard for battlefield trauma care in the US military and for the militaries of many of our allied nations. Committee on TCCC members and the Joint Trauma System also work closely with civilian trauma colleagues through initiatives such as the Hartford Consensus, the White House Stop the Bleed campaign, and the development of National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians TCCC-based courses to ensure that advances in prehospital trauma care pioneered by the military on the battlefield are translated into civilian practice on the streets of America. Active shooter incidents, terrorist bombings, and the day-today trauma that results from motor vehicle accidents and criminal violence create the potential for many additional lives to be saved in the civilian sector. Along with the other components of the Department of Defense's Joint Trauma System, the Committee on TCCC, and the TCCC Working Group have been recognized as a national resource and will continue to advocate for advances in best-practice battlefield trauma care as opportunities to improve are identified.

TacMed Updates: K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Direct Threat Care Guidelines

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Palmer LE, Yee A. 17(2). 174 - 187. (Classical Conference)

Keywords: canines; K9s; Operational K9s; Tactical Emergency Casualty Care