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Guidelines For Implementing Medical Operations In The Counterinsurgency (COIN) Fight: A Framework For Engagement

Hamid S 11(2). 7 - 11 (Journal Article)

Several articles have been published over the last decade that describe the current role of medical operations (variously known as MEDCAPS- Medical Civic Action Programs, CMEs- Co-Operative Medical Engagements, etc.) in COIN and stability operations. Many of these articles focus on the experiences of healthcare and support personnel and their observations of inappropriately used U.S. Military healthcare resources. These medical assets were often used to provide fragmented and direct patient care to local populations. These operations were conducted in a non-sustainable fashion. Most importantly, poorly organized efforts damage COIN efforts and alienate local populations. Effective medical operations must be nested within the larger realm of overall COIN actions. In this paper, a fundamental framework is presented to align medical operations within COIN missions.

Ultrasound-Guided Triage

Dare C, Hampton K 16(4). 117 (Journal Article)

Portuguese 2nd Parachute Battalion

Ferreira B 16(4). 122 - 124 (Journal Article)

Caffeine and Performance

Yarnell AM, Deuster PA 16(4). 64 - 70 (Journal Article)

The role of caffeine in enhancing performance has been studied for years, and there is no doubt that caffeine can be performance enhancing. Also, a wealth of information allows for an interesting distinction between physical and cognitive performance. Most adults in America consume moderate doses of caffeine in various forms on a daily basis as caffeine is typically found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, dietary supplements, energy drinks, energy shots, and chocolate, as well as over-the-counter pills and gums. Although caffeine is readily available and widely consumed, when using it to enhance performance, a few factors should be considered. The authors discuss caffeine use among Servicemembers, its properties and effects on physical and cognitive performance, how to use it to optimize performance, and, finally, some of safety and regulatory considerations. The bottom line is that all individuals do not respond the same way to caffeine and their response depends on how the body uses and breaks down caffeine. Thus, as a user, you should monitor your own responses and performance changes when using caffeine based on the general recommendations provided.


Burnett MW 16(4). 71 - 73 (Journal Article)

Embedded Fragment Removal and Wound Debridement in a Non-US Partner Force Soldier

McLeroy RD, Spelman S, Jacobson E, Gurney J, Keenan S, Powell D, Riesberg J, Pamplin JC 16(4). 114 - 116 (Journal Article)

Objective: Review application of telemedicine support for removal of fragment and wound management. Clinical context: Special Forces Operational Detachment- Alpha deployed in Central Command area of responsibility operating out of a small aid station ("house" phase of prolonged field care) Organic expertise: 18D Special Operations Combat medic Closest medical support: Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) surgeon located in another country; thus, all consults were either via telephone or over Secret Internet Protocol Router e-mail. Earliest evacuation: NA

Mitigating Exertional Heat Illness in Military Personnel: The Science Behind a Rice-Based Electrolyte and Rehydration Drink

Moore B, O'Hara R 16(4). 49 - 53 (Journal Article)

Background: Exertional heat illness continues to be prevalent among members of active duty personnel, especially those in specific military occupational specialties such as loadmasters, flight crew, flight maintainers, and Special Operations Forces. Therefore, the primary objective of this article was to elucidate the various oral rehydration solutions (ORSs) on the market that are used to mitigate exertional heat illness (EHI) in military personnel, and to focus on the science behind a ricebased electrolyte drink, CeraSport®, currently used by US military personnel in mitigating EHI during sustained training operations in high-heat environments. Methods: A search of the literature (through March 2016) was performed using PubMed and ProQuest, in addition to searching bibliographies and text books. We reviewed 63 articles and three texts. Articles were limited to those published in English and to studies that used only carbohydrates (e.g., no amino acids) and drinks reported to be used by the military in field training and deployment. Conclusion: Heat illness is prevalent among military personnel operating in high-heat environments and a variety of ORSs and sports drinks are available to help mitigate this. However, CeraSport, compared with other ORSs and sports drinks, may offer benefits such as faster gastric emptying rates and improved absorption from the gastrointestinal tract, which can provide rapidly available carbohydrate substrates for energy needs, and increased water retention for maintenance of blood plasma volume.

Red-Green Versus Blue Tactical Light: A Direct, Objective Comparison

Pedler M, Ruiz F, Lamari M, Hutchinson C, Noyes B, Petrash M, Calvano CJ, La Porta A, Enzenauer RW 16(4). 54 - 58 (Journal Article)

Background: Success in Special Operations Forces medicine (SOFMED) depends on maximizing visual capability without compromising the provider or casualty when under fire. There is no single light that has been deemed "ideal" for all SOFMED environments. Methods: We used the Farnsworth-Munsell (FM) hue test to determine color vision of normal subjects under white, red-green, and blue flashlights to determine color discrimination. Then we used a timed color-determination visual test to determine how quickly normal subjects can identify color correctly. We had subjects perform a simulated surgery illuminated by a normal white-light source, then by red-green or blue light-emitting diode (LED) tactical light. Results: The total error score for white light was 49.714, 272.923 for red/green light, and 531.4 for blue light. The subjective perception of simulated trauma wounds was not substantially different with red-green LED tactical light when compared with white LED light. However, simulated surgery under the blue LED was more difficult compared with simulated surgery under the red-green LED light. Conclusion: Red-green was a superior light source for SOFMED and military first responders in this study, especially, where light was required to allow accurate and efficient application of Tactical Combat Casualty Care to injured personnel.

Trigger-Point Dry Needling for the SOF Medic

Cavett T, Solarczyk J 16(4). 33 - 39 (Journal Article)

We propose that trigger-point dry needle (TrP-DN) therapy is an effective low-risk treatment for pain associated with myofascial trigger points (MTrP), and should be incorporated into the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medic's scope of practice. Furthermore, TrP-DN therapy can be used as a treatment adjunct on the SOF continuum of care, providing analgesia and increased tolerance for rehabilitative therapy, thereby facilitating improved patient outcomes and faster return to operational readiness. The incidence of musculoskeletal injuries in the SOF community is discussed, as are available treatment options TrP-DN methods, a case study of a Soldier deployed to Afghanistan, the science behind the subject of MTrP and TrP-DN, and the risks associated with TrP-DN and how we can mitigate them effectively. Caution should be used in the interpretation of a body of literature based largely on case studies. Although the amount of published evidence in support of the potential benefits of TrP-DN is growing, larger, randomized, placebo-controlled trials and studies that evaluate the effects of TrP-DN in a methodologically rigorous and statistically significant way are needed. Based on anecdotal evidence of and personal experience with the success of the therapy, as well as its growing use within both civilian and military medicine, the possible therapeutic benefit of TrP-DN is relevant for the SOF community.

Continuous One-Arm Kettlebell Swing Training on Physiological Parameters in US Air Force Personnel: A Pilot Study

Wade M, O'Hara R, Caldwell L, Ordway J, Bryant D 16(4). 41 - 47 (Journal Article)

Background: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effects of continuous one-arm kettlebell (KB) swing training on various US Air Force physical fitness testing components. Thirty trained male (n = 15) and female (n = 15) US Air Force (USAF) personnel volunteered and were sequentially assigned to one of three groups based on 1.5-mile run time: (1) KB one-arm swing training, (2) KB one-arm swing training plus highintensity running (KB + run), and (3) traditional USAF physical training (PT) according to Air Force Instruction 36-2905. Methods: The following measurements were made before and after 10 weeks of training: 1.5-mile run, 1-minute maximal push-ups, 1-minute maximal situps, maximal grip strength, pro agility, vertical jump, 40-yard dash, bodyweight, and percent body fat. Subjects attended three supervised exercise sessions per week for 10 weeks. During each exercise session, all groups performed a 10-minute dynamic warm-up followed by either (1) 10 minutes of continuous KB swings, (2) 10 minutes of continuous kettlebell swings plus 10 minutes of high-intensity running, or (3) 20 minutes of moderate intensity running plus push-ups and sit-ups. Average and peak heart rate were recorded for each subject after all sessions. Paired t tests were conducted to detect changes from pretesting to posttesting within each group and analysis of variance was used to compare between-group variability (ρ ≤ .05). Results: Twenty subjects completed the study. There were no statistically significant changes in 1.5-mile run time between or within groups. The 40- yard dash significantly improved within the KB swing (ρ ≤ .05) and KB + run group (ρ ≤ .05); however, there were no significant differences in the traditional PT group (ρ ≤ .05) or between groups. Maximal push-ups significantly improved in the KB + run group (ρ ≤ .05) and trends toward significant improvements in maximal push-ups were found in both the KB (ρ = .057) and traditional PT (ρ = .067) groups. Conclusions: This study suggests that continuous KB swing training may be used by airmen as a high-intensity, low-impact alternative to traditional USAF PT to maintain aerobic fitness and improve speed and maximal push-ups.

Significant Pressure Loss Occurs Under Tourniquets Within Minutes of Application

Rometti MR, Wall PL, Buising CM, Gildemaster Y, Hopkins JW, Sahr SM 16(4). 15 - 26 (Journal Article)

Background: Pressure decreases occur after tourniquet application, risking arterial occlusion loss. Our hypothesis was that the decreases could be mathematically described, allowing creation of evidence-based, tourniquet-reassessment- time recommendations. Methods: Four tourniquets with width (3.8cm, 3.8cm, 13.7cm, 10.4cm), elasticity (none, none, mixed elastic/nonelastic, elastic), and mechanical advantage differences (windlass, ratchet, inflation, recoil) were applied to 57.5cm-circumference 10% and 20% ballistic gels for 600 seconds and a 57.5cmcircumference thigh and 31.5cm-circumference arm for 300 seconds. Time 0 target completion-pressures were 262mmHg and 362mmHg. Results: Two-phase decay equations fit the pressure-loss curves. Tourniquet type, gel or limb composition, circumference, and completionpressure affected the curves. Curves were clinically significant with the nonelastic Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T), nonelastic Ratcheting Medical Tourniquet (RMT), and mixed elastic/nonelastic blood pressure cuff (BPC), and much less with the elastic Stretch Wrap And Tuck-Tourniquet (SWATT). At both completion-pressures, pressure loss was faster on 10% than 20% gel, and even faster and greater on the thigh. The 362mmHg completion-pressure had the most pressure loss. Arm curves were different from thigh but still approached plateau pressure losses (maximal calculated losses at infinity) in similar times. With the 362mmHg completion-pressure, thigh curve plateaus were -68mmHg C-A-T, -62mmHg RMT, -34mmHg BPC, and -13mmHg SWATT. The losses would be within 5mmHg of plateau by 4.67 minutes C-A-T, 6.00 minutes RMT, 4.98 minutes BPC, and 6.40 minutes SWATT and within 1mmHg of plateau by 8.18 minutes C-A-T, 10.52 minutes RMT, 10.07 minutes BPC, and 17.68 minutes SWATT. Timesequenced images did not show visual changes during the completion to 300 or 600 seconds pressure-drop interval. Conclusion: Proper initial tourniquet application does not guarantee maintenance of arterial occlusion. Tourniquet applications should be reassessed for arterial occlusion 5 or 10 minutes after application to be within 5mmHg or 1mmHg of maximal pressure loss. Elastic tourniquets have the least pressure loss.

Postural Stability of Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen With Tactical Gear

Morgan PM, Williams VJ, Sell TC 16(4). 27 - 31 (Journal Article)

Background: The US Naval Special Warfare's Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen (SWCC) operate on small, high-speed boats while wearing tactical gear (TG). The TG increases mission safety and success but may affect postural stability, potentially increasing risk for musculoskeletal injury. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of TG on postural stability during the Sensory Organization Test (SOT). Methods: Eight SWCC performed the SOT on NeuroCom's Balance Manager with TG and with no tactical gear (NTG). The status of gear was performed in randomized order. The SOT consisted of six different conditions that challenge sensory systems responsible for postural stability. Each condition was performed for three trials, resulting in a total of 18 trials. Results: Overall performance, each individual condition, and sensory system analysis (somatosensory, visual, vestibular, preference) were scored. Data were not normally distributed therefore Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to compare each variable (ρ = .05). No significant differences were found between NTG and TG tests. No statistically significant differences were detected under the two TG conditions. This may be due to low statistical power, or potentially insensitivity of the assessment. Also, the amount and distribution of weight worn during the TG conditions, and the SWCC's unstable occupational platform, may have contributed to the findings. The data from this sample will be used in future research to better understand how TG affects SWCC. Conclusion: The data show that the addition of TG used in our study did not affect postural stability of SWCC during the SOT. Although no statistically significant differences were observed, there are clinical reasons for continued study of the effect of increased load on postural stability, using more challenging conditions, greater surface perturbations, dynamic tasks, and heavier loads.

Secondary Hypertension, Erythrocytosis, and Unilateral Renal Cystic Disease in a Submariner: A Case Report

Forbes AS, Yeo FE 16(4). 1 - 5 (Case Reports)

Erythrocytosis, or increased red blood cell mass, may be primary as in the case of polycythemia vera (PV), or secondary due to a variety of causes related to erythropoietin (EPO) secretion and hypoxia. Chronic pulmonary disease and certain EPO-secreting tumors should be addressed and excluded early during the course of evaluation for a patient presenting with increased red blood cell mass. Inclusion of the JAK2 V617F gene mutation in the recent World Health Organization criteria for the diagnosis of PV allows for facilitated diagnosis and guides therapy. EPO levels can be helpful in diagnosis and guiding therapy, but in the case of cystic renal diseases, EPO levels are often not elevated, creating diagnostic uncertainty. This report describes a case of symptoms directly attributable to erythrocytosis in the setting of negative JAK2 mutation and normal EPO levels. The subsequent discovery of a large cystic renal kidney and PV were the leading diagnostic considerations

Learning Curves of Emergency Tourniquet Use Exploring for Utility in Training

Kragh JF, Mabry RL, Parsons DL, Broussard DW, Aden JK, Dubick MA 16(4). 7 - 14 (Journal Article)

Background: Emergency tourniquet use to control hemorrhage from limb wounds is associated with improved survival and control of shock. In 2013, we introduced a way to measure learning curves of tourniquet users. With a dataset from an unrelated study, we had an opportunity to explore learning in detail. The study aim was to generate hypotheses about measurement methods in the learning of tourniquet users. Methods: We gathered data from a previous experiment that yielded a convenient sample of repeated tourniquet applications used as a marker of learning. Data on consecutive applications on a manikin were used in the current report and were associated with two users, three models of tourniquet, and six metrics (i.e., effectiveness, pulse cessation, blood loss, time to effectiveness, windlass turn number, and pressure applied). There were 840 tests (140 tests per user, two users, three models). Results: Unique characteristics of learning were associated with each user. Hypotheses generated included the following: trainee learning curves can vary in shape (e.g., flat, curved) by which metric of learning is chosen; some metrics may show much learning, whereas others show almost none; use of more than one metric may assess more comprehensively than using only one metric but may require more assessment time; number of uses required can vary by instructional goal (e.g., expertise, competence); awareness of the utility of specific metrics may vary by instructor; and some, but not all, increases in experience are associated with improved performance. Conclusions: This first-aid study generated hypotheses about caregiver learning for further study of tourniquet education and standards.

Effective Monitoring and Evaluation of Military Humanitarian Medical Operations

Waller SG, Powell C, Ward JB, Riley K 11(4). 9 - 14 (Journal Article)

Non-military government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made great strides in the evaluation of humanitarian medical work, and have learned valuable lessons regarding monitoring and evaluation (M&E) that may be equally as valuable to military medical personnel. We reviewed the recent literature by the worldwide humanitarian community regarding the art and science of M&E, with focus toward military applications. The successes and failures of past humanitarian efforts have resulted in prolific analyses. Alliances of NGOs set the standard for humanitarian quality and M&E standards. Military medical personnel can apply some of these standards to military humanitarian M&E in complex and stability operations. The authors believe that the NGO community's M&E standards should be applied to improve evaluation of U.S. military medical humanitarian operations.

Increasing Security through Public Health: A Practical Model

Parker RD 11(4). 4 - 8 (Journal Article)

As political and social changes swee p the globe, there are opportunities to increase national security through innovative approaches. While traditional security methods such as defense forces and homeland security provide both pre-emptive and defensive protection, new methods could meet emerging challenges by responding to the political, financial, and social trends. One method is the integration of defense, medicine and public health. By assisting a nation by providing basic services, such as healthcare, collaborative efforts can increase stabilization in areas of unrest. Improved health outcomes leads to increased domestic security, which can create a ripple effect across a region. Assessment, uptake and sustainability by the host nation are critical for program success. The proposed methodology focuses on the use of primarily extant resources, such as programs used by Special Operations Forces and other health and defense programs. Additional components include evaluation, set objectives and mission collaborations. As the nexus between foreign affairs, security, and public heal th is in crea s ing ly valida ted thr ough research and prac tice, stand ard ized i nt erv entions should b e developed to minimize overlapping expenditures, promote security and strengthen international relations.

Management of the Mangled Face by a Forward Surgical Team

Brisson P, Woll M, Welden B 11(4). 25 - 27 (Case Reports)

A mangled face is an uncommon injury that can occur in a combat zone as a result of blunt trauma, penetrating trauma or explosion injury. Despite the patient's dramatic disfigurement, attention needs to focus on the basic ABC's of initial trauma management. We present an injured Afghan civilian with a severe facial injury. Our approach to airway management, breathing evaluation and hemorrhage control are described. In addition we utilized two emergency hemorrhage control modalities that are usually associated with other areas of the body, a circumferential compression sling and a laparotomy sponge packing.

No Shit, There I Was: The Case for Narrative-Based Clinical Knowledge

Froede K 11(4). 21 - 24 (Journal Article)

Relevant literature demonstrates the absolute necessity of Special Operations Forces (SOF) clinical narratives to the medics they teach and care they deliver, and discusses the concept of narrative pedagogy via review of extant literature and also SOF-specific clinical literature. SOF clinicians (medics, physicians' assistants, physicians, etc.) provide advanced trauma, clinical, and preventive care in the most austere of combat environments. SOF clinicians have adopted specific paradigms for schooling, teaching, learning, and practice. An overarching theme within SOF-generated clinical literature is that of hermeneutics and the narrative pedagogy; SOF clinicians generate their evidence from experience and frequently tell stories to educate their peers, colleagues, and student medics to increase the knowledge of the entire community.

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