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Yugoslav Guerrilla Hospital Design Features and Operation in World War II

Colesar MT, Baker JB 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

In the most austere combat conditions, Yugoslav guerillas of World War II (WWII) demonstrated an innovative and effective hospitalization system that saved countless lives. Yugoslav Partisans faced extreme medical and logistical challenges that spurred innovation while waging a guerrilla war against the Nazis. Partisans used concealed hospitals ranging between 25 to 215 beds throughout the country with wards that were often subterranean. Concealment and secrecy prevented discovery of many wards, which prototypically contained two bunk levels and held 30 patients in a 3.5 × 10.5-meter space that included storage and ventilation. Backup storage and treatment facilities provided critical redundancy. Intra-theater evacuation relied on pack animals and litter bearers while partisans relied on Allied fixed wing aircraft for inter-theater evacuation.

A Novel Scale to Assess Psychological Strategies in Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians

Taylor M, Barczak-Scarboro NE, Hernandez L 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Purpose: This report describes the development and validation of the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Combat Mindset Scale-Training (CMS-T), a population-specific measure of psychological strategy use in EOD training environments. Methods: Scale items were developed by a working group composed of active-duty technicians from EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 1, Naval Health Research Center scientists, and a psychometrician. The working group developed 30 candidate items, which were administered to EOD accessions (new recruits), advanced students, and technicians (N = 164). Factor structure was explored with principal axis factoring and Varimax rotation with Kaiser normalization. Internal consistencies were established via Cronbach alpha, and convergent validity was evaluated with correlational and ANOVA models. Results: Five internally stable subscales were derived from 19 essential items, explaining 65% of total variance. The subscales were named relaxation, attentional-emotional control (AEC), goal setting-visualization (GSV), internal dialogue (ID), and automaticity. The most frequently used strategies were GSV and ID. Expected relationships emerged between strategies, most notably AEC and mental health. The scale also differentiated between subgroups. Conclusion: The EOD CMS-T demonstrates a stable factor structure, internal reliability, and convergent validity. This study yields a valid, practical, and easily administered instrument to support EOD training and evaluation.

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 99(5). 0 (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.

Spring 2022 Journal (Vol 22 Ed 1)

Vol 22 Ed 1
Spring 2022 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Available for preorder. Estimated ship date is March 31st 2022

Unconventional Resilience: A Strategic Framework

Jeschke EA, Baker JB, Wyma-Bradley J, Dorsch J, Huffman SL 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

This will be the second in a series of nine articles in which we discuss findings from our ethnographic study entitled "The Impact of Catastrophic Injury Exposure on Resilience in Special Operations Surgical Teams." Our goal in this article is to establish the practical importance of redefining resilience within a strategic framework. Our bottom-up approach to strategy development explores unconventional resilience as an integrated transformational process that promotes change-agency through the force of movement. Synthesis of empirical data derived from participant interviews and focus groups highlights conceptual attributes that make up the essential components of this framework. To achieve our goal, the authors (1) briefly remind readers how we have problematized conventional resilience; (2) explain how we analyzed qualitative quotes to extrapolate our definition of unconventional resilience; and (3) describe in detail our strategic framework. We conclude by gesturing to why this strategic framework is applicable to practical performance of all Special Operation Forces (SOF) medics.

Use of Intranasal Analgesia in French Armed Forces: A Cross-Sectional Survey

Montagnon R, Cungi P, Aoun O, Morand G, Desmottes J, Pasquier P, Travers S, Aigle L, Dubecq C 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Background: Pain management is essential in military medicine, particularly in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) during deployments in remote and austere settings. The few previously published studies on intranasal analgesia (INA) focused only on the efficacy and onset of action of the medications used (ketamine, sufentanil, and fentanyl). Side-effects were rarely reported. The aim of our study was to evaluate the use of intranasal analgesia by French military physicians. Methods: We carried out a multicentric survey between 15 January and 14 April 2020. The survey population included all French military physicians in primary-care centers (n = 727) or emergency departments (n = 55) regardless of being stationed in mainland France or French overseas departments and territories. Results: We collected 259 responses (33% responsiveness rate), of which 201 (77.6%) physicians reported being familiar with INA. However, regarding its use, of the 256 physicians with completed surveys, only 47 (18.3%) had already administered it. Emergency medicine physicians supporting highly operational units (e.g., Special Forces) were more familiar with this route of administration and used it more frequently. Ketamine was the most common medication used (n = 32; 57.1%). Finally, 234 (90%) respondents expressed an interest in further education on INA. Conclusion: Although a majority of French military physicians who replied to the survey were familiar with INA, few used it in practice. This route of administration seems to be a promising medication for remote and austere environments. Specific training should, therefore, be recommended to spread and standardize its use.

Survey of Military Physician Receptivity to Telemedicine and Perceived Telemedicine-Amenable Conditions in Turkey

Cetin M, Ylidirim M 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Background: Today, asymmetric conflict and terrorism pose a threat to not only soldiers but also civilians, forcing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to confront new threats and rethink its strategy. Various studies have shown that telemedicine is one of these advancements and that it can eventually bring expert advice to the field. Telemedicine, on the other hand, is new in Turkey and has yet to be implemented in the field. The aim of this study is to evaluate the support of health personnel with telemedicine from the perspective of military physicians. Methods: This study was carried out between 20 August 2021 and 5 October 2021 with the participation of 47 military physicians working as research assistants in a training and research hospital. A questionnaire consisting of 17 questions was used to evaluate military physicians' perspectives on telemedicine and their expectations from it. Results: Forty-six of the participants stated that they wanted a healthcare provider/expert opinion to consult about the patient/injured while they were on field and that telemedicine could be used within the scope of field medicine (4.51 ± 0.62). They also stated that telemedicine centers should employ emergency medicine specialists in particular (n = 40, 85.1%). The participants agreed that these centers would be quite useful, particularly for medical evacuations (n = 42, 89.4%). Conclusion: Telemedicine's long-term viability in our country is thought to be contingent upon it covering medical conditions that are practical, require fewer technical intricacies, and appeal to emergency health services. The openness of the personnel to innovation and change is expected to improve harmony and cooperation.

Spring 2023 Journal (Vol 23 Ed 1)

Vol 23 Ed 1
Spring 2023 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Preorder only - Estimated ship date 1 April 2023

Warning: Tourniquets Risk Frostbite in Cold Weather

Kragh JF, O'Conor DK 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

We sought to better understand the frostbite risk during first-aid tourniquet use by reviewing information relevant to an association between tourniquet use and frostbite. However, there is little information concerning this subject, which may be of increasing importance because future conflicts against near-peer competitors may involve extreme cold weather environments. Historically, clinical frostbite cases with tourniquet use occurred in low frequency but in high severity when leading to limb amputation. The physiologic response of vasoconstriction to cold exposure leads to limb cooling and causes a reduction of limb blood flow, but cold-induced vasodilation ensues as periodic fluctuations that increase blood flow to hands and feet. In animal experiments, tourniquet use increased the development of frostbite. Evidence from human experiments also supports an association between tourniquet use and frostbite. Clinical guidance for caregiving to casualties at risk for frostbite with tourniquet use had previously been provided but slowly and progressively dropped out of documents. Conclusions: The cause of frostbite was deduced to be a sufficiently negative heat-transfer trend in local tissues, which tourniquet use may worsen because of decreasing tissue perfusion. An association between tourniquet use and frostbite exists but not as cause and effect. Tourniquet use increased the risk of the cold causing frostbite by allowing faster cooling of a limb because of reduced blood flow and lack of cold-induced vasodilation. Care providers above the level of the lay public are warned that first-aid tourniquet use in low-temperature (<0°C [<32°F]) environmental conditions risks frostbite.

Antibiotic Usage in the Management of Wartime Casualties

Anderson JL, Kronstedt S, Bergens MA, Johannigman J 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Evacuation of Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction in West Africa: 19 Hours of Lessons Learned in Prolonged Casualty Care and En Route Care

Speicher MV, McGowan J, Pruett S, Shurden J, Bianchi W, Kibler A 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Trauma casualty care has historically been the cornerstone of special operations military medical training. A recent case of myocardial infarction at a remote base of operations in Africa highlights the importance of foundational medical knowledge and training. A 54-year-old government contractor supporting operations in the AFRICOM area of responsibility (AOR) presented to the Role 1 medic with substernal chest pain with onset during exercise. Abnormal rhythm strips concerning for ischemia were obtained from his monitors. A MEDEVAC to a Role 2 facility was arranged and executed. At the Role 2 a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) was diagnosed. The patient was emergently evacuated on a lengthy flight to a civilian Role 4 treatment facility for definitive care. He was found to have a 99% occlusion of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery, as well as a 75% occlusion of the posterior coronary artery and a chronic 100% occlusion of the circumflex artery. The LAD and posterior arteries were stented, and the patient made a favorable recovery. This case highlights the importance of preparedness for medical emergencies and care of medically critical patients in remote and austere locations.

Admission Forced Vital Capacity Adds a Predictive Physiologic Tool to Triage Patients Suffering Rib Fractures: A Prospective Observation Trial

Johnston LR, Nam JJ, Nissen AP, Sleeter JJ, Aden JK, Mills AF, Sams VG 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Background: Patients with rib fractures are at high risk for morbidity and mortality. This study prospectively examines bedside percent predicted forced vital capacity (% pFVC) in predicting complications for patients suffering multiple rib fractures. The authors hypothesize that increased % pFVC is associated with reduced pulmonary complications. Methods: Adult patients with ≥3 rib fractures admitted to a level I trauma center, without cervical spinal cord injury or severe traumatic brain injury, were consecutively enrolled. FVC was measured at admission and % pFVC values were calculated for each patient. Patient were grouped by % pFVC <30% (low), 30-49% (moderate), and ≥50% (high). Results: A total of 79 patients were enrolled. Percent pFVC groups were similar except for pneumothorax being most frequent in the low group (47.8% vs. 13.9% and 20.0%, p = .028). Pulmonary complications were infrequent and did not differ between groups (8.7% vs. 5.6% vs. 0%, p = .198). Discussion: Increased % pFVC was associated with reduced hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS) and increased time to discharge to home. Percent pFVC should be used in addition to other factors to risk stratify patients with multiple rib fractures. Bedside spirometry is a simple tool that can help guide management in resource-limited settings, especially in large-scale combat operations. Conclusion: This study prospectively demonstrates that % pFVC at admission represents an objective physiologic assessment that can be used to identify patients likely to require an increased level of hospital care.

Improving Outcomes Associated with Prehospital Combat Airway Interventions: An Unrealized Opportunity

Schauer SG, Hudson IL, Fisher AD, Dion G, Long B, Blackburn MB, De Lorenzo RA, Shaw TA, April MD 99(5). 0 (Journal Article)

Background: Airway obstruction is the second leading cause of potentially survivable death on the battlefield. Assessing outcomes associated with airway interventions is important, and temporal trends can reflect the influence of training, technology, the system of care, and other factors. We assessed mortality among casualties undergoing prehospital airway intervention occurring over the course of combat operations during 2007-2019. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of a previously described dataset from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR). We included only casualties with documented placement of an endotracheal tube, cricothyrotomy, or supraglottic airway (SGA) in the prehospital setting. Results: Within the DODTR from January 2007 to December 2019, there were 25,849 adult encounters with documentation of any prehospital activity. Within that group, there were 251 documented cricothyrotomies, 1,147 documented intubations, and 35 documented supraglottic airways placed. Cricothyrotomy recipients had a median age of 25. Within this group, the largest proportion were non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military personnel (35%), were injured by explosives (54%), had a median injury severity score (ISS) of 24, and 60% survived to hospital discharge. Intubation recipients had a median age of 24. Within this group, the largest proportion were non-NATO military personnel (37%), were injured by explosives (57%), had a median ISS of 18, and 76% survived to hospital discharge. SGA recipients had a median age of 28. Within this group, the largest proportion were non-NATO military (37%), were injured by firearms (48%), had a median ISS of 25, and 54% survived to hospital discharge. A downward trend existed in the quantity of all procedures performed during the study period. In both unadjusted and adjusted regression models, we identified no year-to-year differences in survival after prehospital cricothyrotomy or SGA placement. In the unadjusted and adjusted models, we noted a decrease in mortality during the 2007-2008 (odds ratio [OR] for death 0.47, 95% CI 0.26-0.86) and an increase from 2012-2013 (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.09-4.05) for prehospital intubation. Conclusion: Mortality among combat casualties undergoing prehospital or emergency department airway interventions showed no sustained change during the study period. These findings suggest that advances in airway resuscitation are necessary to achieve mortality improvements in potentially survivable airway injuries in the prehospital setting.

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 99(5). 0 (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.

Short Review of Journal Abstracts for Casualty Care 2020-2022

Pajuelo Castro JJ 99(5). 110 - 120 (Journal Article)

Where There's a War, There's a Way: A Brief Report on Tactical Combat Casualty Care Training in a Multinational Environment

Conyers K, Gillies AB, Sibley C, McMullen C, Remley MA, Wence S, Gurney J 99(5). 105 - 108 (Journal Article)

Background: With most combat deaths occurring in prehospital settings, the US Armed Forces focuses on life-threatening conditions at or near the point of injury. Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines are required for all US Servicemembers. Multinational militaries lack this requirement, and international partner forces often have limited prehospital medical training. Methods: From November 2019 to March 2020, military members assigned to the Role 2E at the Hamid Kazai International Airport (HKIA) North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base conducted multinational TCCC training. The standardized Joint Trauma System (JTS) TCCC curriculum consisted of two-day classroom instruction and situational training exercises. Competency was assessed through verbalized and demonstrated knowledge. After Action Reviews (AAR) were completed. Results: Twelve multinational TCCC training courses trained 590 military Servicemembers and civilians from 10 countries, ranging from 16 to 62 participants (avg class size = 35). Portugal and Turkey represented the two largest participating nations with 219 and 133, respectively. Student feedback determined optimal group ratios for instruction. AARs were reviewed to categorize best practices. Conclusion: Multinational TCCC standardization will save lives. Most nations lack TCCC training requirements. Thus, providing opportunities for standardized training for HKIA residents helped established a multinational baseline of medical interoperability. Utilizing this curriculum in multinational environments can replicate these results. International adoption of TCCC is dynamic and ongoing and should be promulgated to reduce preventable deaths.

Association of Body Mass Index with Injuries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses Comparing Healthy Weight Military Service Members with Underweight, Overweight, and Obese

Knapik JJ, Hoedebecke SS 99(5). 97 - 103 (Journal Article)

Obesity is a worldwide health problem that has reached pandemic proportions. In the military, obesity and overweight are associated with health problems, attrition from military service, and reduced job performance. National and international organizations suggest body mass index (BMI) as a population screening tool to define overweight and obesity. BMI is calculated as weight/height2 (kg/m2). Four categories of adult BMI are underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), healthy weight (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25.0-29.9 kg/m2), and obese (≥30.0 kg/m2). This article reports on a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the association between BMI and injury risk among military service members (SMs). Studies were selected for review if they involved military personnel, were prospective or retrospective observational studies, and contained original quantitative data on injury risk at all four BMI levels. Nine studies met the review criteria. Pooled data from these investigations indicated that underweight, overweight, and obese individuals were at 1.17 (95% confidence interval [95%CI]=1.07-1.28), 1.03 (95%CI=1.01-1.06), and 1.15 (95%CI=1.11-1.20) times higher risk of injury than healthy weight individuals, respectively. Compared with healthy weight SMs, military personnel with both low and high BMI are at higher injury risk.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever: A Refresher and Update for the SOF Provider

Klucher J, Gonzalez A, Shishido AA 99(5). 94 - 97 (Journal Article)

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) is the most widespread tickborne virus causing human disease. CCHF wields a mortality rate up to 30% and was responsible for the death of a US Soldier in 2009. The virus is spread by the Hyalomma species of hard tick found across Central Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia south of the 50° parallel. Infection typically consists of a 1-7-day non-specific viral prodrome, followed by onset of hemorrhagic disease on days 7-10. Severe disease may cause thrombocytopenia, transaminitis, petechial hemorrhage, hematemesis, and death typically by day 10 of illness. Education and insect control are paramount to disease prevention. Treatment is predominantly supportive care, though evidence suggests a benefit of early ribavirin administration. CCHF has caused multiple nosocomial outbreaks, and therefore consideration should be given to safe transport and evacuation of infected and exposed patients. Given the wide area of distribution, transmissibility, innocuous arthropod vectors, and high mortality rate, it is imperative that Special Operations Forces (SOF) providers be aware of CCHF and the existing countermeasures.

Hydration: Tactical and Practical Strategies

Scott J, Linderman JR, Deuster PA 99(5). 89 - 92 (Journal Article)

Full-spectrum Human Performance Optimization (HPO) is essential for Special Operations Forces (SOF). Adequate hydration is essential to all aspects of performance (physical and cognitive) and recovery. Water losses occur as a result of physical activity and can increase further depending on clothing and environmental conditions. Without intentional and appropriate strategic hydration planning, Operators are at increased risk for degradation in performance and exertional heat illness. The purpose of this article is to highlight current best practices for maintaining hydration before, during, and after activity, while considering various environmental conditions. Effective leadership and planning are necessary for preparing Operators for successful military operations.

Combat Casualties Treated With Intranasal Ketamine for Prehospital Analgesia: A Case Series

Dubecq C, Montagnon R, Morand G, De Rocquigny G, Petit L, Peyrefitte S, Dubourg O, Pasquier P, Mahe P 99(5). 85 - 88 (Case Reports)

Optimal pain management is challenging in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC), particularly in remote and austere settings. In these situations, appropriate treatment for prehospital analgesia can be limited or delayed due to the lack of intravenous access. Several guidelines suggest to implement intranasal (IN) analgesia in French Armed Forces for forward combat casualty care (Sauvetage au Combat), similar to the US TCCC. Four medical teams from the French Medical Military Service were deployed to the Middle East and Sahel from August 2017 to March 2019 and used IN ketamine for analgesia in 76 trauma patients, out of a total of 259 treated casualties. IN administration of ketamine 50mg appeared to be safe and effective, alone or in addition to other opioid analgesics. It also had minimal side effects and led to a reduction in the doses of ketamine and morphine used by the intravenous (IV) route. The French Military Medical Service supports current developments for personal devices delivering individual doses of IN ketamine. However, further studies are needed to analyze its efficacy and safety in combat zones.

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