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Summer 2019 Journal (Vol 19 Ed 2)

Vol 19 Ed 2
Summer 2019 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Spring 2019 Journal (Vol 19 Ed 1)

Vol 19 Ed 1
Spring 2019 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Fall 2019 Journal (Vol 19 Ed 3)

Vol 19 Ed 3
Fall 2019 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Winter 2011 Journal (Vol 11 Ed 4)

Vol 11 Ed 4
Winter 2011 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Winter 2018 Journal (Vol 18 Ed 4)

Vol 18 Ed 4
Winter 2018 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

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Proficiency in Improvised Tourniquets for Extremities: A Review

Rohrich C, Plackett TP, Scholz BM, Hetzler MR 19(3). 123 - 127 (Journal Article)

Tourniquets have become ubiquitous tools for controlling hemorrhage in the modern prehospital environment, and while commercial products are preferable, improvised tourniquets play an important role when commercial options are not available. A properly constructed improvised tourniquet can be highly effective provided the user adheres to certain principles. This review article identifies key skills in the construction and application of improvised tourniquets on an extremity. An improvised tourniquet design for an extremity should include three components: a strap, a rod, and a securing mechanism. The strap can be made from a variety of materials, but cravat- like fabric has been shown to work well. Optimal strap dimensions should be at least 2cm in width and a continuous segment long enough to extend around the extremity while still offering ends to accommodate and secure the rod. The rod should be constructed from a material that is hard, strong, and capable of withstanding the torque placed on it without bending or breaking. After torque is applied, the rod must be secured into position to maintain the constricting force and survive patient transport. Finally, the need for an improvised tourniquet is a contingency that all first responders should anticipate. Hands-on training should be conducted routinely in conjunction with other first responder tasks.

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ReSTRAiN Yourself Before Diagnosing Strain

Hampton K, Van Humbeeck L 19(3). 122 (Journal Article)

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A SORT Plus a GHOST Equals: Experience of Two Forward Medical Teams Supporting Special Operations in Afghanistan 2019

Nam JJ, Milia DJ, Diamond SR, Gourlay DM 19(3). 117 - 121 (Journal Article)

Theater Special Operations Force (SOF) medical planners have been using Army forward surgical teams (FSTs) to maintain a golden hour for US SOF during Operation Freedom's Sentinel in the form of Golden Hour Offset Surgical Treatment Teams (GHOST-Ts) in Afghanistan. Recently, the Special Operations Resuscitation Team (SORT) was designed to decompress and augment a GHOST-T to help extend a golden hour ring in key strategic locations. This article describes both teams working together in Operation Freedom's Sentinel while deployed in support of SOF in central Afghanistan during the summer fighting season.

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United States Military Parachute Injuries. Part 1: Early Airborne History and Secular Trends in Injury Incidence

Knapik JJ 19(3). 110 - 115 (Journal Article)

This article traces the early history of military airborne operations and examines studies that have provided overall incidences of parachute-related injuries over time. The first US combat parachute assault was proposed during World War I, but the war ended before the operation could be conducted. Experimental jumps were conducted near San Antonio, Texas, in 1928 and 1929, but it was not until 1939, spurred by the developments in Germany, that the US Army Chief of Infantry proposed the development of an "air infantry." An Airborne Test Platoon was instituted with 48 men at Fort Benning, Georgia, and mass training of paratroopers began in 1940. The US entered World War II in December 1941 with the attack on Pearl Harbor and declaration of war by Germany. In January 1942, US War Department directed that four parachute regiments be formed. The 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion made the first US Army combat jumps into Morocco and Algeria in November 1942. At the US Army Airborne School in the 1940-1941 period, the parachute-related injury incidence was 27 injuries/1000 jumps; by 1993 it was 10 injuries/1000 jumps and in 2005-2006, 6 injuries/1000 jumps. Analysis of time-loss injuries in operational units showed a decline in injuries from 6 injuries/1000 jumps to 3 injuries/1000 jumps to 1 injury/1000 jumps in the periods 1946-1949, 1956-1962, and 1962-1963, respectively. When all injuries (not just time-loss) experienced in operational units are considered, the overall injury incidence was about 8 injuries/1000 jumps in the 1993- 2013 period. In jump operations involving a larger number of risk factors (e.g., high winds, combat loads, rough drop zones) injury incidences was considerably higher. The few studies that have reported on parachute-related injuries in combat operations suggest injury incidence ranged from 19 to 401 injuries/ 1000 jumps, likely because of the number of known injury risk factors present during these jumps. Despite the limitations of this analysis stemming from different injury definitions and variable risk factors, the data strongly suggest that military parachute injuries have sharply declined over time. Part 2 of this series will discuss techniques and equipment that have likely improved the safety of parachute operations.

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Scabies

Crecelius EM, Burnett MW 19(3). 107 - 108 (Journal Article)

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Human Performance Optimization: An Operational and Operator-Centric Approach

Lunasco T, Chamberlin RA, Deuster PA 19(3). 101 - 106 (Journal Article)

USSOCOM invests millions of dollars in the assessment, selection, and training of its Operators. Handpicked and forged to defend their nation, each Operator emerges from initial and career field training with unique skills and honed talents integral to their unit's effectiveness, sustainability, and mission success. The need for SOF unit commanders to optimize and preserve the talents of their Operators was highlighted as a top priority in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Human performance optimization (HPO) offers a paradigm shift to support that priority by grounding health and performance services in the unique needs, cultures, skills, and missions of SOF Operators at the career field and unit level. Currently, HPO efforts continue to inform Military Health System (MHS) realignment efforts towards this paradigm shift; however, significant gaps still exist due to a lack of definitional clarity around HPO as a conceptual framework and to the unequal operationalization of HPO across the Department of Defense (DoD). To synergize health and performance efforts through HPO and provide SOF unit commanders with the tools they need to sustain the optimal performance of their operational forces over a career lifespan, this review builds upon previous work in HPO and highlights the operationalization of HPO on a tactical level to support units' Mission Essential Task List (METL) and Operator's Core Tasks (CT). Through returning to HPO's tenets, this review discusses how performance and health priorities of an Operational community can be identified in order to enhance the targeting of performance and health efforts. Last, we present a community-based model for mapping these priorities.

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Interventions Performed on Multipurpose Military Working Dogs in the Prehospital Combat Setting: A Comprehensive Case Series Report

Reeves LK, Mora AG, Field A, Redman TT 19(3). 90 - 93 (Journal Article)

Introduction: The military working dog (MWD) has been essential in military operations such as Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). MWDs sustain traumatic injuries that require point of injury and en route clinical interventions. The objective of this study was to describe the injuries and treatment military working dogs received on the battlefield and report their final disposition. Methods: This was a convenience sample of 11 injury and treatment reports of US MWDs from February 2008 to December 2014. We obtained clinical data regarding battlefield treatment from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) database and supplemental operational sources. A single individual collected the data and maintained the dataset. The data collected included mechanism of injury, clinical interventions, and outcomes. We reported findings as frequencies. Results: Of the 11 MWD casualties identified in this dataset, 10 reports had documented injuries secondary to trauma. Eighty percent of the cases sustained gunshot wounds. The hindlegs were the most common site of injury (50%); however, 80% sustained injuries at more than one anatomical location. Seventy percent of cases received at least one clinical intervention before arrival at their first treatment facility. The most common interventions included trauma dressing (30%), gauze (30%), chest seal (30%), and pain medication (30%). The survival rate was 50%. Conclusion: The majority of the MWD cases in this dataset sustained traumatic injuries, with gunshot being the most common mechanism of injury. Most MWDs received at least one clinical intervention. Fifty percent did not survive their traumatic injuries.

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Survival of Casualties Undergoing Prehospital Supraglottic Airway Placement Versus Cricothyrotomy

Schauer SG, Naylor JF, Chow AL, Maddry JK, Cunningham CW, Blackburn MB, Nawn CD, April MD 19(3). 86 - 89 (Journal Article)

Background: Airway compromise is the second leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Unlike a cricothyrotomy, supraglottic airway (SGA) placement does not require an incision and is less technically challenging. We compare survival of causalities undergoing cricothyrotomy versus SGA placement. Methods: We used a series of emergency department (ED) procedure codes to search within the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DoDTR) from January 2007 to August 2016. This is a subanalysis of that dataset. Results: During the study period, 194 casualties had a documented cricothyrotomy and 22 had a documented SGA as the sole airway intervention. The two groups had similar proportions of explosive injuries (57.7% versus 63.6%, p = .328), similar composite injury severity scores (25 versus 27.5, p = .168), and similar AIS for the head, face, extremities, and external body regions. The cricothyrotomy group had lower AIS for the thorax (0 versus 3, p = .019) a trend toward lower AIS for the abdomen (0 versus 0, p = .077), more serious injuries to the head (67.5% versus 45.5%, p = .039), and similar rates of serious injuries to the face (4.6% versus 4.6%, p = .984). Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores were similar upon arrival to the ED (3 versus 3, p = .467) as were the proportion of patients surviving to discharge (45.4% versus 40.9%, p = .691). On repeated multivariable analyses, the odds ratios (ORs) for survival were not significantly different between the two groups. Conclusion: We found no difference in short-term outcomes between combat casualties who received an SGA vs cricothyrotomy. Military prehospital personnel rarely used either advanced airway intervention during the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The Use of Tranexamic Acid in the Prehospital Setting: A Retrospective Study

Boever J, Krasowski MS, Brandt M, Woods T 19(3). 82 - 85 (Journal Article)

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Operational Advantages of Enteral Resuscitation Following Burn Injury in Resource-Poor Environments: Palatability of Commercially Available Solutions

Burmeister DM, Little JS, Gomez BI, Gurney J, Chao T, Cancio LC, Kramer GC, Dubick MA 19(3). 76 - 81 (Journal Article)

Background: In recent combat operations, 5% to 15% of casualties sustained thermal injuries, which require resource-intensive therapies. During prolonged field care or when caring for patients in a multidomain battlefield, delayed transport will complicate the challenges that already exist in the burn population. A lack of resources and/or vascular access in the future operating environment may benefit from alternative resuscitation strategies. The objectives of the current report are 1) to briefly review actual and potential advantages/caveats of resuscitation with enteral fluids and 2) to present new data on palatability of oral rehydration solutions. Methods: A review of the literature and published guidelines are reported. In addition, enlisted US military active duty Servicemembers (N = 40) were asked to taste/rank five different oral rehydration solutions on several parameters. Results and Conclusions: There are several operational advantages of using enteral fluids including ease of administration, no specialized equipment needed, and the use of lightweight sachets that are easily reconstituted/ administered. Limited clinical data along with slightly more extensive preclinical studies have prompted published guidelines for austere conditions to indicate consideration of enteral resuscitation for burns. Gatorade® and Drip-Drop® were the overall preferred rehydration solutions based on palatability, with the latter potentially more appropriate for resuscitation. Taken together, enteral resuscitation may confer several advantages over intravenous fluids for burn resuscitation under resource-poor scenarios. Future research needs to identify what solutions and volumes are optimal for use in thermally injured casualties.

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A Comparison of the Laryngeal Handshake Method Versus the Traditional Index Finger Palpation Method in Identifying the Cricothyroid Membrane, When Performed by Combat Medic Trainees

Moore A, Aden JK, Curtis R, Umar M 19(3). 71 - 75 (Journal Article)

Background: The laryngeal handshake method (LHM) may be a reliable standardized method to quickly and accurately identify the cricothyroid membrane (CTM) when performing an emergency surgical airway (ESA). However, there is currently minimal available literature evaluating the method. Furthermore, no previous CTM localization studies have focused on success rates of military prehospital providers. This study was conducted with the goal of answering the question: Which method is superior, the LHM or the traditional method (TM), for identifying anatomical landmarks in a timely manner when performed by US Army combat medic trainees? Methods: This prospective randomized crossover study was conducted at Ft Sam Houston, TX, in September 2018. Two Army medic trainees with similar body habitus volunteered as subjects, and the upper and lower borders and midline of their CTMs were identified by ultrasound (US). The participants were also recruited from the medic trainee population. After receiving initial training on the LHM and refresher training on the TM, participants were asked to localize the CTMs of each subject with one method per subject. Success was defined as a marking within the borders and 5mm of midline within 2 minutes. Results: Thirty-two combat medic trainees participated; 78% (n = 25) successfully localized the CTM using the TM versus 41% (n = 13) using the LHM (p = .002). Conclusion: Findings of this study support that at present the TM is a superior method for successful localization of the CTM when performed by Army combat medic trainees.

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Airway Management for Army Reserve Combat Medics: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

Miller BM, Kinder C, Smith-Steinert R 19(3). 64 - 70 (Journal Article)

Background: An Army Reserve Combat Medic's training is focused on knowledge attainment, skill development, and building experience and training to prepare them to perform in austere conditions with limited resources like on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the exposure to skills they may be responsible for performing is limited. Research shows that greater than 90% of battlefield deaths occur in the prehospital setting, 24% of which are potentially survivable. Literature demonstrates that 91% of these deaths are related to hemorrhage; the remaining are related to other causes, including airway compromise. The skill and decision-making of this population are prime targets to optimize outcomes in the battlefield setting. Methods: Army Reserve combat medics were selected to voluntarily participate in an educational intervention provided by anesthesia providers focusing on airway management. Participants completed a preintervention assessment to evaluate baseline knowledge levels as well as comfort with airway skills. Medics then participated in a simulated difficult airway scenario. Next, airway management was reviewed, and navigation of the difficult airway algorithm was discussed. The presentation was followed by simulations at four hands-on stations, which focused on fundamental airway concepts such as bag-mask ventilation and placement of oral airways, tracheal intubation, placement of supraglottic airways, and cricothyrotomy. Pre/post knowledge assessments and performance evaluation tools were used to measure the effectiveness of the intervention. Results: Statistically significant results were found in self-reported confidence levels with airway skills (z = -2.803, p = .005), algorithm progression (z = -2.807, p = .005), and predicting difficulty with airway interventions based on the patient's features (z = -2.809, p = .005). Establishment of ventilation was completed faster after the intervention. More coherent and effective airway management was noted, new knowledge was gained, and implications from psychological research applied. Conclusion: Supplementing the training of Army Reserve Combat Medics with the utilization of anesthesia providers is an effective platform. This exercise imparted confidence in this population of military providers. This is critical for decision-making capabilities, performance, and the prevention of potentially survivable mortality on the battlefield.

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Review: Getting Tourniquets Right = Getting Tourniquets Tight

Wall PL, Buising CM, Sahr SM 19(3). 52 - 63 (Journal Article)

Tourniquet application to stop limb bleeding is conceptually simple, but optimal application technique matters, generally requires training, and is more likely with objective measures of correct application technique. Evidence of problems with application techniques, knowledge, and training can be ascertained from January 2007 to August 2018 PubMed peer-reviewed papers and in Stop The Bleed-related videos. Available data indicates optimal technique when not under fire involves application directly on skin. For nonelastic tourniquets, optimal application technique includes pulling the strap tangential to the limb at the redirect buckle (parallel to the limb-encircling strap entering the redirect buckle). Before engaging the mechanical advantage tightening system, the secured strap should exert at least 150mmHg inward, and skin indentation should be visible. For Combat Application Tourniquets, optimal technique includes the slot in the windlass rod parallel to the stabilization plate during the single 180° turn that should be sufficient for achieving arterial occlusion, which involves visible skin indentation and pressures of 250mmHg to 428mmHg on normotensive adult thighs. Appropriate pressures on manikins and isolated-limb simulations depend on how the under-tourniquet pressure response of each compares to the under-tourniquet pressure response of human limbs for matching tourniquet-force applications. Lack of such data is one of several concerns with manikin and isolated-limb simulation use. Regardless of model or human limb use, pictures and videos purporting to show proper tourniquet application techniques should show optimal tourniquet application techniques and properly applied, arterially occlusive limb tourniquets. Ideally, objective measures of correct tourniquet application technique would be included.

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Deliberate Practice in Combat Application Tourniquet Placement by Loop Passage

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Dubick MA 19(3). 45 - 50 (Journal Article)

Background: We sought opportunities to develop learning practices of individual first aid providers. In this study, we simulated deliberate practice in placing limb tourniquets. Methods: This study comprised tourniquet uses by two experienced persons. Their practice sessions focused on developing a motor skill with periodic coaching. The Combat Application Tourniquet is 1.5-inches wide and was used in a technique of loop passage around the end of the limb to place it 2-3 inches above the wound. The simulated limb was a Z-Medica Hemorrhage Control Trainer. Both users applied the tourniquet six times over 5 days to accrue 30 uses individually (N = 60 tourniquet applications for the study). Results: When represented as summary parameters, differences were small. For example, average ease of use was the same for both users, but such parameters only took a snapshot of performance, yielding a general assessment. However, for a learning curve by use number, a surrogate of experience accrual, application time revealed spiral learning. The amount that users compressed a limb averaged −15% compared with its unsqueezed state. Placement accuracy was classified relative to gap widths between the tourniquet and the wound, and of 60 performances, 55 were satisfactory and five were unsatisfactory (i.e., placement was <2 inches from the wound). When a tourniquet only overlaid the 2-inch edge of the placement zone (i.e., tourniquet was 2-3.5 inches away from the wound), no error was made, but errors were made in crossing that 2-inch edge. These gauging errors led us to create a template for learners to see and to demonstrate what the meaning of 2-3 inches is. Conclusion: Each metric had value in assessing first aid, but turning attention to gauging wound-tourniquet gaps revealed placement errors. Analysis of such errors uncovered what 2-3 inches meant in operation. Spiral learning may inform the development of best readiness practices such as coaching deliberate-practice sessions.

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