Background: Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is a technique that uses internal clamping of the aorta to control abdominal, pelvic, or junctional bleeding. We created a course to train military physicians in both civilian prehospital use and battlefield use. To determine the effectiveness of this training, we conducted REBOA training for French military emergency physicians. Methods: We trained 15 military physicians, organizing the training as follows: a half-day of theoretical training, a half-day of training on mannequins, a half-day on human corpses, and a half-day on a living pig. The primary endpoint was the success rate after training. We defined success as the balloon being inflated in zone 1 of a PryTime mannequin. The secondary endpoints were the progression of each trainee during the training, the difference between the median completion duration before and after training, the median post-training duration, and the median duration for the placement of the sheath introducer before and after training. Results: Fourteen of the physicians (93%) correctly placed the balloon in the mannequin at the end of the training period. During the training, the success rate increased from 73% to 93% (p = .33). The median time for REBOA after training was only 222 seconds (interquartile range [IQR] 194-278), significantly faster than before training (330 seconds, IQR 260-360.5; p = .0033). We also found significantly faster sheath introducer placement (148 seconds, IQR 126-203 versus 145 seconds, IQR 115.5 - 192.5; p = .426). Conclusion: The training can be performed successfully and paves the way for the use of REBOA by emergency physicians in austere conditions.
Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) has always emphasized the need to consider the tactical setting in developing a plan to care for wounded unit members while still on the battlefield. The TCCC Guidelines provide an evidence-based trauma care approach to specific injuries that may occur in combat. However, they do not address what modifications might need to be made to the basic TCCC guidelines due to the specific tactical setting in which the scenario occurs. The scenario presented below depicts a combat swimmer operation in which a unit member is shot while in the water. The unit casualty response plan for a combat swimmer who sustains a gunshot wound to the chest while on a mission is complicated by the inability to perform indicated medical interventions for the casualty while he is in the water. It is also complicated by the potential for ballistic damage to his underwater breathing apparatus and the need to remain submerged after wounding for at least for a period of time to avoid further hostile fire. Additionally, there is a potential for a cerebral arterial gas embolism (CAGE) and/or a tension pneumothorax to develop while surfacing because of the decreasing ambient pressure on ascent. The tactical response may be complicated by limited communications between the mission personnel while submerged and by the vulnerability of the mission personnel to antiswimmer measures if their presence is compromised.