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A Comparison of Ventilation Rates Between a Standard Bag-Valve-Mask and a New Design in a Prehospital Setting During Training Simulations

Costello JT, Allen PB, Levesque R 17(3). 59 - 63 (Journal Article)

Background: Excessive ventilation of sick and injured patients is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Combat Medical Systems® (CMS) is developing a new bag-valve-mask (BVM) designed to limit ventilation rates. The purpose of this study was to compare ventilation rates between a standard BVM device and the CMS device. Methods: This was a prospective, observational, semirandomized, crossover study using Army Medics. Data were collected during Brigade Combat Team Trauma Training classes at Camp Bullis, Texas. Subjects were observed during manikin simulation training in classroom and field environments, with total duration of manual ventilation and number of breaths given recorded for each device. Analysis was performed on overall ventilation rate in breaths per minute (BPM) and also by grouping the subjects by ventilation rates in low, correct, and high groups based on an ideal rate of 10-12 BPM. Results: A total of 89 Medics were enrolled and completed the classroom portion of the study, with a subset of 36 evaluated in the field. A small but statistically significant difference in overall BPM between devices was seen in the classroom (ρ < .001) but not in the field (ρ >.05). The study device significantly decreased the incidence of high ventilation rates when compared by groups in both the classroom (ρ < .001) and the field (ρ = .044), but it also increased the rate of low ventilation rates. Conclusion: The study device effectively reduced rates of excessive ventilation in the classroom and the field.

Prehospital Administration of Tranexamic Acid by Ground Forces in Afghanistan: The Prehospital Trauma Registry Experience

Schauer SG, April MD, Naylor JF, Wiese J, Ryan KL, Fisher AD, Cunningham CW, Mitchell N, Antonacci MA 17(3). 55 - 58 (Journal Article)

Background: Tranexamic acid (TXA) was shown to reduce overall mortality and death secondary to hemorrhage in a large prospective study. This intervention is time sensitive. As such, the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines recommend use of this low-cost, safe intervention among patients with possible hemorrhagic shock, penetrating trauma to the thorax or trunk, or extremity amputation. Objective: Prehospital administration of TXA by ground forces in the Afghanistan combat theater is described. Methods: We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry. We searched for all patients with documented hypotension, amputation, or penetrating trauma to the torso. Results: From January 2013 to September 2014, there were 272 patients who met inclusion criteria. Most injuries (97.8%; n = 266) were battle injuries. Of the 272 patients who met criteria to receive prehospital TXA, 51 (18.8%) received TXA, whereas the remaining 221 (81.2%) did not. Higher proportions of patients receiving TXA versus patients not receiving TXA received hemostatic dressings, pressure dressings, and tourniquet placement. Conversely, the proportion of patients receiving intravenous fluids was higher in the no-TXA group. Conclusion: Overall, proportions of eligible patients receiving TXA were low despite emphasis in the guidelines. The reasons for this low adherence to TCCC guidelines are likely multifactorial. Future research should seek to identify reasons TXA is not given when indicated and to develop training and technology to increase prehospital TXA administration.

Estimation of Dog-Bite Risk and Related Morbidity Among Personnel Working With Military Dogs

Schermann H, Eiges N, Sabag A, Kazum E, Albagli A, Salai M, Shlaifer A 17(3). 51 - 54 (Journal Article)

Background: Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Force Military Working Dogs (MWD) Unit spend many hours taming dogs' special skills, taking them on combat missions, and performing various dogkeeping activities. During this intensive work with the aggressive military dogs, bites are common, and some of them result in permanent disability. However, this phenomenon has not been quantified or reported as an occupational hazard. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study based on self-administered questionnaires. Information was collected about soldiers' baseline demographics, duration of the experience of working with dogs, total number of bites they had, circumstances of bite events, and complications and medical treatment of each bite. Bite risk was quantified by incidence, mean time to first bite, and a Cox proportional hazards model. Rates of complications and the medical burden of bites were compared between combat soldiers and noncombat dogkeepers. Bite locations were presented graphically. Results: Seventy-eight soldiers participated and reported on 139 bites. Mean time of working with dogs was 16 months (standard deviation, ±9.4 months). Overall bite incidence was 11 bites per 100 person-months; the mean time to first bite event was 6.3 months. The Cox proportional hazards model showed that none of baseline characteristics significantly increased bite hazard. About 90% of bites occurred during routine activities, and 3.3% occurred on combat missions. Only in 9% of bite events did soldiers observed the safety precautions code. Bite complications included fractures, need for intravenous antibiotic treatment and surgical repair, prominent scarring, diminished sensation, and stiffness of proximal joints. Bite complications were similar between combat soldiers and dogkeepers. Most bites (57%) were located on hands and arms. Conclusion: MWD bites are an occupational hazard resulting in significant medical burden. Hands and arms were most common bite locations. Observance of safety precautions may be the most appropriate first-line preventive intervention. Barrier protection of upper extremities may reduce bite severity and complication rates.

The Golden Hour Offset Surgical Treatment Team Operational Concept: Experience of the 102nd Forward Surgical Team in Operation Freedom's Sentinel 2015-2016

Benavides JM, Benavides LC, Hale DF, Lundy JB 17(3). 46 - 50 (Journal Article)

Theater Special Operations Force (SOF) medical planners have begun using Army Forward Surgical Teams (FSTs) to maintain a golden hour for U.S. SOF during Operation Freedom's Sentinel required adaptation in FST training, configuration, personnel, equipment, and employment to form Golden Hour Offset Surgical Treatment Teams (GHOST-Ts). This article describes one such FST's experience in Operation Freedom's Sentinel while deployed for 9 months in support of SOF in southern Afghanistan.

Surgical Instrument Sets for Special Operations Expeditionary Surgical Teams

Hale DF, Sexton JC, Benavides LC, Benavides JM, Lundy JB 17(3). 40 - 45 (Journal Article)

Background: The deployment of surgical assets has been driven by mission demands throughout years of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The transition to the highly expeditious Golden Hour Offset Surgical Transport Team (GHOST- T) now offers highly mobile surgical assets in nontraditional operating rooms; the content of the surgical instrument sets has also transformed to accommodate this change. Methods: The 102nd Forward Surgical Team (FST) was attached to Special Operations assigned to southern Afghanistan from June 2015 to March 2016. The focus was to decrease overall size and weight of FST instrument sets without decreasing surgical capability of the GHOST-T. Each instrument set was evaluated and modified to include essential instruments to perform damage control surgery. Results: The overall number of main instrument sets was decreased from eight to four; simplified augmentation sets have been added, which expand the capabilities of any main set. The overall size was decreased by 40% and overall weight decreased by 58%. The cardiothoracic, thoracotomy, and emergency thoracotomy trays were condensed to thoracic set. The orthopedic and amputation sets were replaced with an augmentation set of a prepackaged orthopedic external fixator set). An augmentation set to the major or minor basic sets, specifically for vascular injuries, was created. Conclusion: Through the reorganization of conventional FST surgical instrument sets to maintain damage control capabilities and mobility, the 102nd GHOST-T reduced surgical equipment volume and weight, providing a lesson learned for future surgical teams operating in austere environments.

Combat Trousers as Effective Improvised Pelvic Binders A Comparative Cadaveric Study

Loftus A, Morris R, Friedmann Y, Pallister I, Parker P 17(3). 35 - 39 (Journal Article)

Background: Improvised explosive devices and landmines can cause pelvic fractures, which, in turn, can produce catastrophic hemorrhage. This cadaveric study compared the intrapelvic pressure changes that occurred with the application of an improvised pelvic binder adapted from the combat trousers worn by British military personnel with the commercially available trauma pelvic orthotic device (TPOD). Methods: Six unembalmed cadavers (three male, three female) were used to simulate an unstable pelvic fracture with complete disruption of the posterior arch (AO/OTA 61-C1) by dividing the pelvic ring anteriorly and posteriorly. A 3-4cm manometric balloon filled with water was placed in the retropubic space and connected to a 50mL syringe and water manometer via a three-way tap. A baseline pressure of 8cm H2O (average central venous pressure) was set. The combat trouser binder (CTB) and TPOD were applied to each cadaver in a random sequence and the steady intrapelvic pressure changes were recorded. Statistical analysis was performed using the Wilcoxon rank-sum test and a paired t test depending on the normality of the data to determine impact on the intrapelvic pressure of each intervention compared with baseline. Results: The median steady intrapelvic pressure achieved after application of the CTB was 16cm H2O and after application of the TPOD binder was 18cm H2O, both of which were significantly greater than the baseline pressure (ρ < .01 and .036, respectively) but not significantly different from each other (ρ >.05). Conclusion: Pelvic injuries are increasingly common in modern theaters of war. The CTB is a novel, rapidly deployable, yet effective, method of pelvic binding adapted from the clothes the casualty is already wearing. This technique may be used in austere environments to tamponade and control intrapelvic hemorrhage.

Unwrapping a First Aid Tourniquet From Its Plastic Wrapper With and Without Gloves Worn: A Preliminary Study

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Lambert CD, Moore VK, Dubick MA 17(3). 25 - 34 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to gather data about unwrapping a packaged limb tourniquet from its plastic wrapper while wearing different types of gloves. Because already unwrapped tourniquets require no time to unwrap, unwrapping data may provide insights into the issue of having tourniquets unwrapped when stowed in a first aid kit of a Serviceperson at war. Materials and Methods: In a laboratory setting, 36 tests of nine glove groups were performed in which four people, gloved and ungloved, unwrapped tourniquets. Other tourniquets were environmentally exposed for 3 months. Results: All the users successfully unwrapped each tourniquet. Mean times to unwrap by glove group were not significantly different (ρ = .0961). When mean values of eight experimental groups were compared with that of one control group (i.e., bare hands), results showed no significant difference (ρ >.07). Mean time was least for bare hands (12 seconds) and most for cold gloves layered under mittens (22 seconds). Among the 36 pairwise comparisons of difference between glove group means, after adjustment for multiple comparisons, no comparison was noted to be statistically significant (ρ > .052, all 36 pairs). Glove thickness ranged from 0 mm for bare hands to 2.5 mm for cold gloves layered under mittens. By glove group, the thickness-time association was moderate, as tested by linear regression (R2 = 0.6096). The tourniquets exposed to the environment had evidence of rapid photodegradation due to direct exposure to sunlight. Such exposure also destroyed the wrappers. Conclusion: In a preliminary study, different gloves performed similarly when wearers unwrapped a tourniquet from its wrapper. The tourniquet wrappers gave no visible protection from sunlight, and environmental exposure destroyed the wrappers.

Use of Acetylsalicylic Acid in the Prehospital Setting for Suspected Acute Ischemic Stroke

Levri JM, Ocon A, Schunk P, Cunningham CW 17(3). 21 - 23 (Journal Article)

Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) treatment guidelines include various recommendations for treatment once the patient arrives at the hospital. Prehospital care recommendations, however, are limited to expeditious transport to a qualified hospital and supportive care. The literature has insufficiently considered prehospital antiplatelet therapy. An otherwise healthy 30-year-old black man presented with headache for about 3 hours, left-sided facial and upper extremity numbness, slurred speech, miosis, lacrimation, and general fatigue and malaise. The presentation occurred at a time and location where appropriate resources to manage potential AIS were limited. The patient received a thorough physical examination and electrocardiogram. Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) 325mg was administered within 15 minutes of history and examination. A local host-nation ambulance arrived approximately 30 minutes after presentation. The patient's neurologic symptoms had abated by the time the ambulance arrived. The patient did not undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) until 72 hours after being admitted, owing to lack of neurology staff over the weekend. The MRI showed evidence of a left-sided, posteriorinferior cerebellar artery stroke. The patient was then taken to a different hospital, where he received care for his acute stroke. The patient eventually was prescribed a statin, ASA, and an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. The patient has no lingering symptoms or neurologic deficits.

Prehospital Cricothyrotomy Kits Used in Combat

Schauer SG, April MD, Cunningham CW, Long AN, Carter R 17(3). 18 - 20 (Case Reports)

Background: Surgical cricothyrotomy remains the only definitive airway management modality for the tactical setting recommended by Tactical Combat Casualty Care guidelines. Some units have fielded commercial cricothyrotomy kits to assist Combat Medics with surgical cricothyrotomy. To our knowledge, no previous publications report data on the use of these kits in combat settings. This series reports the the use of two kits in four patients in the prehospital combat setting. Methods: Using the Department of Defense Trauma Registry and the Prehospital Trauma Registry, we identified four cases of patients who underwent prehospital cricothyrotomy with the use of commercial kits. In the first two cases, a Medic successfully used a North American Rescue CricKit (NARCK) to obtain a surgical airway in a Servicemember with multiple amputations from an improvised explosive device explosion. In case 3, the Medic unsuccessfully used an H&H Medical kit to attempt placement of a surgical airway in a Servicemember shot in the head by small arms fire. A second attempt to place a surgical airway using a NARCK was successful. In case 4, a Soldier sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. A Medic described fluid in the airway precluding bag-valve-mask ventilation; the Medic attempted to place a surgical airway with the H&H kit without success. Conclusion: Four cases of prehospital surgical airway cannulation on the battlefield demonstrated three successful uses of prehospital cricothyrotomy kits. Further research should focus on determining which kits may be most useful in the combat setting.

Exertional Heat Illness Resulting in Acute Liver Failure and Liver Transplantation

Boni B, Amann C 17(3). 15 - 17 (Case Reports)

Heat illness remains a large medical burden for militaries around the world. Mitigating the incidence as well as the complications of heat illness must remain on the forefront of operational planning when operating in hot environments. We report the case of a 27-year-old male U.S. Marine who sustained a heat-related illness resulting in fulminant liver failure and permanent disability. The patient was transferred from the field to a civilian hospital. On hospital day 5, liver failure was identified. The patient was transferred to a transplant center, where he successfully received a liver transplant.

"Evita Una Muerte, Esta en Tus Manos" Program: Bystander First Aid Training for Terrorist Attacks

Pajuelo Castro JJ, Meneses Pardo JC, Salinas Casado PL, Hernandez Martin P, Montilla Canet R, del Campo Cuesta JL, Incera Bustio G, Martin Ayuso D 17(4). 133 - 137 (Journal Article)

Background: The latest terrorist attacks in Europe and in the rest of the world, and the military experience in the most recent conflicts leave us with several lessons learned. The most important is that the fate of the wounded rests in the hands of the one who applies the first dressing, because the victims usually die within the first 10 minutes, before professional care providers or police personnel arrive at the scene. A second lesson is that the primary cause of preventable death in these types of incidents involving explosives and firearms is massive hemorraghe. Objective: There is a need to develop a training oriented to citizens so they can identify and use available resources to avoid preventable deaths that occur in this kind of incidents, especially massive hemorrhage. Methods: A 7-hour training intervention program was developed and conducted between January and May 2017. Data were collected from participants' answers on a multiple-choice test before and after undertaking the training. Improved mean score for at least 75% of a group's members on the posttraining test was considered reflective of adequate knowledge. Results: A total of 173 participants (n = 74 men [42.8%]; n = 99 women [57.2%]) attended the training. They were classified into three groups: a group of citizens/ first responders with no prior health training, a group of health professionals, and a group of nursing students. Significant differences (ρ < .05) between mean pre- and post-training test scores occurred in each of the three groups. Conclusion: There was a clear improvement in the knowledge of the students after the training when pre- and post-training test scores were compared within the three groups. The greatest improvement was seen in the citizens/first responders group

Use of a Tuning Fork for Fracture Evaluation: An Introduction for Education and Exposure

Hetzler MR 17(4). 130 - 132 (Journal Article)

Radiographs, bones scans, and even ultrasound may be rare in the austere or acute environment for the evaluation of suspected musculoskeletal fractures. Having an easy, simple, and confident means of objective evaluation used in conjunction with the patient presentation, history, and physical findings may provide a more efficient and economical means of treatment. This introduction and review of selected literature are meant to provide a fuller understanding and consideration for the methods of using a tuning fork in fracture assessment.

Pleuritic Chest Pain: This Can't Be Happening!

Farrell R, Dare C, Hampton K 17(4). 127 (Journal Article)

Evaluation and Treatment of Ocular Injuries and Vision-Threatening Conditions in Prolonged Field Care

Reynolds ME, Hoover C, Riesberg JC, Mazzoli RA, Colyer M, Barnes S, Calvano CJ, Karesh JW, Murray CK, Butler FK, Keenan S, Shackelford S 17(4). 115 - 126 (Journal Article)

Prolonged Field Care for the Winter 2017 Edition

Riesberg JC 17(4). 114 (Journal Article)

Energy Balance and Diet Quality During the US Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Individual Training Course

Sepowitz JJ, Armstrong NJ, Pasiakos SM 17(4). 109 - 113 (Journal Article)

Methods: This study characterized the total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), energy intake (EI), body weight, and diet quality (using the Healthy Eating Index-2010 [HEI]) of 20 male US Marines participating in the 9-month US Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command Individual Training Course (ITC). Results: TDEE was highest (ρ < .05) during Raider Spirit (RS; 6,376 ± 712kcal/d) compared with Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE; 4,011 ± 475kcal/d) School, Close-Quarters Battle (CQB; 4,189 ± 476kcal/d), and Derna Bridge (DB; 3,754 ± 314kcal/d). Body mass was lost (ρ < .05) during SERE, RS, and DB because EI was less than TDEE (SERE, -3,665kcal/d ± 475kcal/d; RS, -3,966 ± 776kcal/d; and DB, -1,027 ± 740kcal/d; p < .05). However, body mass was restored before the start of each subsequent phase and was not different between the start (86.4 ± 9.8kg) and end of ITC (86.7 ± 9.0kg). HEI score declined during ITC (before, 65.6 ± 11.2 versus after, 60.9 ± 9.7; p < .05) because less greens or beans and more empty calories were consumed (ρ < .05). Dietary protein intake was lowest during RS (0.9 ± 0.4g/kg) compared with all other phases, and carbohydrate intake during RS (3.6 ± 1g/kg), CQB (3.6 ± 1.0g/kg), and DB (3.7 ± 1.0g/kg) was lower than during the academic phase of SERE (5.1 ± 1.0g/kg; p < .05). Conclusion: These data suggest that ITC students, on average, adequately restore body mass between intermittent periods of negative energy balance. Education regarding the importance of maintaining healthy eating patterns while in garrison, consuming more carbohydrate and protein, and better matching EI with TDEE during strenuous training exercises may be warranted.

Tools to Assess and Reduce Injury Risk (Part 2)

Knapik JJ 17(4). 104 - 108 (Journal Article)

Research has shown that many injuries are preventable if the operational environment is understood. Useful tools are available to assist in assessing injury risks and in developing methods to reduce risks. This is part 2 of a two-part article that discusses these tools, which include the Haddon Matrix, the 10 Countermeasure Strategies, the Injury Prevention Process, and the US Army Risk Management Process. Part 1 covered the Haddon Matrix and the 10 Countermeasure Strategies; part 2 outlines and provides examples of the Injury Prevention Process and the US Army Risk Management Process. The Injury Prevention Process is largely oriented to systematic research and involves (1) surveillance and survey to document the size of the injury problem, (2) identification of the causes of and risk factors for injuries, (3) intervention to identify what works to prevent injuries, (4) program implementation based on documented research, and (5) program evaluation to see how well the program works in the operational environment. The US Army Risk Management Process involves (1) identifying hazards, (2) assessing hazards, (3) developing controls for reducing hazards, (4) implementing controls, and (5) supervising and evaluating controls. There is overlap among the four approaches, but each has unique aspects that can be useful for thinking about and implementing injury prevention and control measures.


Burnett MW 17(4). 102 - 103 (Journal Article)

Optimizing Musculoskeletal Performance Through Injury Prevention

de la Motte SJ, Gribbin TC, Deuster PA 17(4). 97 - 101 (Journal Article)

Musculoskeletal injuries (MSK-Is) are ubiquitous throughout the Special Operations Forces (SOF) because of the physical demands of executing missions and carrying heavy loads. Preventing MSK-I has been a priority among SOF but is especially challenging because most MSK-Is are chronic or recurring. For many SOF, musculoskeletal issues and MSK pain are just part of doing their job. Ways to focus, target, and integrate injury prevention efforts across the continuum of training, active duty and SOF status are critical because MSK-Is are a significant barrier to human performance optimization. In this article, we describe how to incorporate these efforts at all levels of training. The need for improving valid, objective, fit-for-full-duty metrics after injury and sharing such information continuously with SOF is discussed. Last, strategies for engaging all levels to begin a culture shift away from the acceptance of MSK-I and pain as a way of life toward embracing MSK-I prevention as a regular part of everyday training are presented.

Hand Injuries

Banting J, Meriano T 17(4). 93 - 96 (Journal Article)

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