Butler FK, Burkholder T, Chernenko M, Chimiak J, Chung J, Cubano M, Gurney J, Hall AB, Holcomb JB, Kotora J, Lenart M, Long A, Papalski W, Rich TA, Tripp M, Shackelford SA, Tadlock MD, Timby JW, Drew B. 22(2). 9 - 28. (Journal Article)
The types of injuries seen in combat action on a naval surface ship may be similar in many respects to the injuries seen in ground combat, and the principles of care for those injuries remain in large part the same. However, some contradistinctions in the care of combat casualties on a ship at sea must be highlighted, since this care may entail a number of unique challenges and different wounding patterns. This paper presents a scenario in which a guided missile destroyer is struck by a missile fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle operated by an undetermined hostile entity. Despite the presence of casualties who require care, the primary focus of a naval vessel that has just been damaged by hostile action is to prevent the ship from sinking and to conserve the fighting force on board the ship to the greatest extent possible. The casualties in this scenario include sailors injured by both blast and burns, as well as a casualty with a non-fatal drowning episode. Several of the casualties have also suffered the effects of a nearby underwater explosion while immersed. Challenges in the care of these casualties include delays in evacuation, the logistics of obtaining whole blood for transfusion while at sea, and transporting the casualties to the next higher level of care aboard a Casualty Receiving and Treatment Ship. As the National Defense Strategy pivots to a focus on the potential for maritime combat, the medical community must continue to maintain readiness by preparing fo
Keywords: underwater blast; TCCC; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; burns; whole blood; hemorrhage control; shipboard; maritime casualties; naval surface warfare
Walker LH, Godbee DC, Palmer LE, Share MP, Mouri M. 22(2). 29 - 34. (Journal Article)
The authors describe the 20th Special Forces Group-Airborne Non-Trauma Module refresher training for Special Forces medical sergeants and Special Operations combat medics.
Keywords: 20th Special Forces Group-Airborne Non-Trauma Module refresher training; training
Brisson PA, McGregor DW, Murphy Z. 22(2). 35 - 36. (Journal Article)
Collaboration on annual training between a medical school and a National Guard Special Forces Group can be accomplished with great benefit to both parties. The authors describe the involvement by the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in providing training for the 20th Special Forces Group Medical Sergeants of the Alabama Army National Guard.
Keywords: training; collaboration; volunteers; military training; medical school
Wentz LM, Webb PS, Burks K. 22(2). 37 - 41. (Journal Article)
Nutrition is an essential component of Human Performance Optimization in Special Operations Forces (SOF) to enhance physical and mental performance, unit readiness, and mission success. Body composition is frequently used to monitor individual nutrition progress; however, using body fat percentage is limited both by the accuracy of the assessment method and its association with SOF relevant performance outcomes. Lower body fat and/or body mass index have generally, but not universally, been correlated with higher levels of physical performance, yet they poorly predict performance in military relevant tasks. As a complement to body fat, many performance dietitians in the SOF Human Performance Programs utilize the International Society for Advanced Kinanthropometry (ISAK) profile to assess body composition, proportionality, ratio of muscle to bone, and somatotype in combat Operators. Kinanthropometry is the study of human size, shape, proportion, composition, maturation, and gross function, and it is a helpful tool for monitoring nutrition and training progress in athletes and active individuals. The ISAK profile has been well established as an international method for talent identification, distinguishing characteristics between athletes across and within elite sports, and identifying predictors of sport performance that can be applied in the military setting. While some SOF dietitians are utilizing the ISAK profile, the challenge lies in translating sport data to military relevant outcomes. We present a series of four case studies demonstrating the utility of this method as a portable comprehensive assessment for cross-sectional and longitudinal body composition tracking in a military setting.
Keywords: human performance optimization; performance nutrition; muscle mass; physical fitness; military
Fisher AD, Carius BM. 22(2). 42 - 42. (Letter)
Keywords: critical care; prehospital; combat; emergency medical services; medical evacuation
Anderson JL, Cole M, Pannell D. 22(2). 43 - 47. (Journal Article)
Crush injuries present a challenging case for medical providers and require knowledge and skill to manage the subsequent damage to multiple organ systems. In an austere environment, in which resources are limited and evacuation time is extensive, a medic must be prepared to identify trends and predict outcomes based on the mechanism of injury and patient presentation. These injuries occur in a variety of environments from motor vehicle accidents (at home or abroad) to natural disasters and building collapses. Crush injury can lead to compartment syndrome, traumatic rhabdomyolysis, arrythmias, and metabolic acidosis, especially for patients with extended treatment and extrication times. While crush syndrome occurs due to the systemic effects of the injury, the onset can be as early as 1 hour postinjury. With a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, management, and tactical considerations, a prehospital provider can optimize patient outcomes and be prepared with the tools they have on hand for the progression of crush injury into crush syndrome.
Keywords: crush injury; Special Operations Medicine; tactical medicine; compartment syndrome; rhabdomyolysis
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.
Keywords: traumatic brain injury; pathophysiology; prehospital management; critical care
Ditzel RM, Hwang BY, Schmid JH, Ling GS. 22(2). 55 - 61. (Journal Article)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) management is complex. The brain is a sensitive, high-maintenance organ that loses its ability to take care of itself upon injury, and our primary mission is to achieve and maintain optimal levels of cerebral blood flow (CBF) from the moment of injury until recovery. The authors provide a case and discuss prehospital patient management, including adequate oxygen saturation and blood pressure, early recognition of TBI, frequent exams, detailed charting and hand-off, and fast transport to the next echelon of care.
Keywords: traumatic brain injury; pathophysiology; prehospital management; critical care
Lampman P, Kennington K, Assar SM. 22(2). 63 - 68. (Journal Article)
Shock is a life-threatening condition carrying a high mortality rate when untreated. The consequences of shock are cellular and metabolic derangements, which are initially reversible. The authors present the case of a Servicemember who sustained mortar shrapnel wounds that resulted in shock.
Keywords: shock; homeostasis; critical care
Rankin CJ, Fetherston T, Ballentine CD, Adams B, Long B, Carius BM. 22(2). 69 - 74. (Journal Article)
The ongoing evolution of prehospital medical care continues to advance beyond immediate triage care. Prehospital care is even more important to consider in theaters with extended evacuation times and limited local medical assets. Although blood loss is often associated with settings of acute traumatic hemorrhage in military medicine, the possibility for other hematologic compromise necessitating urgent action requires medics operating in these environments to have a fundamental knowledge of the pathophysiology, manifestations, and stabilization measures of anemia to aid their patients prior to, or in lieu of, evacuation. Continued development of and access to point-of-care testing in increasingly forward-deployed settings further enable medics to perform these tasks. Here, we provide a brief review of hemoglobin function and composition, and presentation and management considerations of anemia, to assist medics in their treatment efforts. We also address specific concerns for battlefield and atraumatic presentations.
Keywords: hemoglobin; anemia; prehospital care; blood loss, hemorrhage; military; laboratory; malaria; hemolysis; bleeding; transfusion
Nietsch KS, Roach TM, Wilson ZD, Kelly SM. 22(2). 75 - 79. (Journal Article)
Thrombocytopenia is a common condition characterized by a low platelet count, typically less than 150,000/µL. This article outlines key considerations for field medical providers to effectively identify the early signs of thrombocytopenia and treat different etiologies in the prehospital environment. Following a representative case study, we present a review of basic pathophysiology to include different manifestations of thrombocytopenia as well as diagnostic methods, treatments, and other necessary interventions in this unique setting. With an adequate understanding of typical patient histories and physical presentations leading to this diagnosis, field medics and physicians can be armed with useful information to potentially improve patient outcomes.
Keywords: thrombocytopenia; platelets; bleeding; bruising
Painter A, Carius BM. 22(2). 80 - 86. (Journal Article)
Ongoing evolution of prehospital medical care continues to advance beyond tactical field care scenarios in the consideration of prolonged field care. This is even more important to consider in theaters with extended evacuation times and limited local medical assets. The critical regulatory functions of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and glucose require medics operating in these environments to have a strong, fundamental knowledge of the principles, manifestations, and initial stabilization measures to aid their patients prior to, or in lieu of evacuation. Continued development and access to point of care testing in increasingly forward deployed settings further enables medics to perform these tasks. Here, we provide a brief review of these vital electrolytes, as well as additional kidney function evaluation considerations, to assist medics in their treatment efforts. Specific concerns for battlefield and atraumatic presentations are addressed.
Keywords: military; laboratory; sodium; potassium; calcium; glucose; electrolytes; creatinine
Payne R, Glassman E, Turman ML, Cancio LC. 22(2). 87 - 92. (Journal Article)
Management of burn patients in the prehospital and prolonged field care environments presents complex patient care and logistical challenges. The authors discuss the pathophysiology, diagnostics, longitudinal concerns, and treatment involved in the care of such patients.
Keywords: burns; prehospital; critical care; military medicine; Special Operations Medicine
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.
Keywords: noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation (NPPV); continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP); noninvasive ventilation (NIV); acute respiratory failure (ARF)
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.
Keywords: Mechanical Ventilation; invasive ventilation; ventilator; portable ventilator
Bagley GF, Ciochirca C. 22(2). 104 - 109. (Journal Article)
The authors examine two acute lung injuries (ALI) that can occur in the tactical setting - positive pressure pulmonary edema and inhalation injury - as well as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), all of which can quickly progress in a prolonged field care (PFC) environment. These conditions present complex problems to emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU) teams worldwide, requiring intimate knowledge of their distinct disease pathophysiology and advanced critical care equipment. These challenges are compounded in the world of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) medic who often operates as the sole provider in environments with both limited resources and prolonged evacuation times. It is the hope of the authors that by breaking down these complex critical care topics and providing concrete guidance and treatment recommendations that we can ultimately improve the care SOF medics provide overseas in an austere operational environment.
Keywords: lethal triad; critical care; prehospital; coagulopathy; trauma; resuscitation; lethal diamond
Friedman J, Ditzel RM, Fisher AD. 22(2). 110 - 115. (Journal Article)
The coagulopathy associated with trauma is a complex and convoluted process that is still poorly understood. However, there are recognized contributors to acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) and trauma induced coagulopathy (TIC) that are universal. They are hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy, also known as the lethal triad. Recently, with new understanding of hypocalcemia's role in trauma mortality, the term lethal diamond has been coined to underscore calcium's importance. Prehospital providers often unknowingly exacerbate ATC and TIC with excessive crystalloid administration and poor hypothermia prevention. This article will serve as an overview of the physiologic and iatrogenic drivers of ATC and TIC, and will discuss how they can be prevented, assessed, and treated.
Keywords: lethal triad; critical care; prehospital; coagulopathy; trauma; resuscitation; lethal diamond
Johnson A, Dodge M, Fisher AD. 22(2). 116 - 118. (Journal Article)
As technology improves, the capabilities of prehospital providers increase. Innovations and realizations from military counterparts are being transitioned to civilian emergency care with the same hopes of increasing survivability of patients. Looking to the future, the incorporation of drone aircraft in the critical care field will likely impact the way medicine is practiced. Education is the key to improving outcomes in the prehospital setting.
Keywords: innovations; prehospital; EMS; emergency medical services; drone; transportation; military; future; technology
Williams NC. 22(2). 120 - 125. (Journal Article)
Septic children are among the most challenging and resource-intensive patients that clinicians see around the world daily. These patients often require a broad range of therapies and assessment techniques, frequently relying on expertise across multiple specialties such as radiology and laboratory services. In developed nations, these resources are readily available or in close proximity, as transport is often logistically feasible to coordinate transfer to definitive care. In developing nations and areas of conflict, this is not the case. Most of the world's population lives in developing nations, resulting in inadequate access to specialized pediatric intensive care resources. As a result, many clinicians globally face the unique challenge of caring for septic children in resource-deprived and austere settings. Areas recovering from natural disasters, remote villages, and conflict zones are examples of austere environments where children have an increased risk of sepsis while having the fewest medical resources available. This creates a unique challenge that prehospital clinicians are specifically tasked with managing, sometimes lasting for multiple days pending the possibility of a transport option. Clinicians in these environments must be aggressive in identifying and treating critically-ill children in resource limited environments, but also nuanced in their care plan due to the limitations of the environment.
Keywords: sepsis; austere; pediatric; prehospital; child; critical care; resources; limited
Samblanet K, Booy M. 22(2). 127 - 128. (Letter)
Keywords: Arctic; Tactical Combat Casualty Care; multidomain operations
Knapik JJ. 22(2). 129 - 138. (Journal Article)
This article reviews hazards associated with obstacle course events (OCEs) like the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, which are becoming increasingly popular, and provides strategies to mitigate these hazards. In seven studies, the overall weighted incidence of participants seeking medical care during OCEs was only 1.4% with ~6% of these requiring higher level medical care at a hospital. Nonetheless, 27% of participants self-reported =1 extremity injury. Common OCE medical problems included sprains/strains and dermatological injuries (abrasions/laceration/blisters); the ankle and knee were common injury locations. There are reports microorganism infections during OCEs, associated with ingestion of contaminated water and mud. On military obstacle courses, ~5% were injured, but this activity has the highest injury rate (injuries/hour of training) of all major testing or training activities. Ankle sprain risk can be reduced with proprioceptive training and prophylactic ankle bracing. Knee injury risk can be reduced with exercise-based programs that incorporate various components of proprioceptive training, plyometrics, resistance exercises, stretching, and shuttle/bounding running. Reducing abrasions and lacerations involve wearing low friction clothing, gloves, and prophylactic covering of skin areas prone to abrasions/lacerations with specific protective materials. Reducing blister likelihood involves use of antiperspirants without emollients, specialized sock systems, and covering areas prone to blisters with paper tape. Reducing infections from microorganism can be accomplished by protective covering open wounds, rinsing off mud post-race, and avoiding ingestion of food and drink contaminated with mud. These chiefly evidence-based injury and illness prevention measures should minimize the risks associated with OCEs.
Keywords: infection; obstacle course events; injury
O'Hara R, Sussman LR, Tiede JM, Sheehan R, Keizer B. 22(2). 139 - 148. (Journal Article)
Introduction: Special Operations Forces (SOF) Operators (SOs) are exposed to high levels of physiological and cognitive stressors early in their career, starting with the rigors of training, combined with years of recurring deployments. Over time, these stressors may degrade SOs' performance, health, and recovery. Objectives: (1) To evaluate sources identifying and describing physiological and psychological stressors affecting performance, health, and recovery in SOs, and (2) to explore interventions and phenomena of interest, such as the biological mechanisms of overtraining syndrome (OTS). Methods: This review followed the recommendations and methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. A database search from December 1993 to December 2021 was performed in PubMed, the Cochrane Library, and the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). Potential articles were identified using search terms from their titles, abstracts, and full texts. Articles effectively addressing the review questions and objectives were eligible. Results: After 19 articles were excluded for not meeting established inclusion criteria, a total of 92 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility. After the final analysis, 72 articles were included. Conclusions: Allostatic imbalance may occur when supra-maximal demands are prolonged and repeated. Without adequate recovery, health and performance may decline, leading to nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) and OTS, resulting in harmful psychological and hormonal disruptions. The recurring demands placed on SOs may result in a chronically high burden of physical and mental stress known as allostatic overload. Future investigation, especially in the purview of longitudinal implementation, health, and recovery monitoring, is necessary for the health and readiness of the SOF population.
Keywords: humans; cognition; overtraining syndrome; allostatic load; military personnel; sports
Croushorn J. 22(2). 149 - 151. (Journal Article)
Fisher AD, DesRosiers TT, Papalski W, Remley MA, Schauer SG, April MD, Blackman V, Brown J, Butler FK, Cunningham CW, Gurney J, Holcomb JB, Montgomery HR, Morgan MM, Motov SM, Shackelford SA, Sprunger T, Drew B. 22(2). 154 - 165. (Classical Conference)
Analgesia in the military prehospital setting is one of the most essential elements of caring for casualties wounded in combat. The goals of casualty care is to expedite the delivery of life-saving interventions, preserve tactical conditions, and prevent morbidity and mortality. The Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Triple Option Analgesia guideline provided a simplified approach to analgesia in the prehospital combat setting using the options of combat medication pack, oral transmucosal fentanyl, or ketamine. This review will address the following issues related to analgesia on the battlefield: 1. The development of additional pain management strategies. 2. Recommended changes to dosing strategies of medications such as ketamine. 3. Recognition of the tiers within TCCC and guidelines for higher-level providers to use a wider range of analgesia and sedation techniques. 4. An option for sedation in casualties that require procedures. This review also acknowledges the next step of care: Prolonged Casualty Care (PCC). Specific questions addressed in this update include: 1) What additional analgesic options are appropriate for combat casualties? 2) What is the optimal dose of ketamine? 3) What sedation regimen is appropriate for combat casualties?
Keywords: analgesia; prehospital; casualties; Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Triple Option Analgesia guideline; fentanyl; ketamine
Graverson SP. 22(2). 167 - 167. (Book Review)
Wood D. What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars. Little, Brown Spark (November 1, 2016); 304 pages; ISBN 978-0-316-26414-3