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A Novel, Perfused-Cadaver Simulation Model for Tourniquet Training in Military Medics

Grabo DJ, Polk T, Strumwasser A, Inaba K, Foran C, Luther C, Minneti M, Kronstedt S, Wilson A, Demetriades D 18(4). 97 - 102 (Journal Article)

Background: Exsanguinating limb injury is a significant cause of preventable death on the battlefield and can be controlled with tourniquets. US Navy corpsmen rotating at the Navy Trauma Training Center receive instruction on tourniquets. We evaluated the effectiveness of traditional tourniquet instruction compared with a novel, perfused-cadaver, simulation model for tourniquet training. Methods: Corpsmen volunteering to participate were randomly assigned to one of two tourniquet training arms. Traditional training (TT) consisted of lectures, videos, and practice sessions. Perfused-cadaver training (PCT) included TT plus training using a regionally perfused cadaver. Corpsmen were evaluated on their ability to achieve hemorrhage control with tourniquet(s) using the perfused cadaver. Outcomes included (1) time to control hemorrhage, (2) correct placement of tourniquet(s), and (3) volume of simulated blood loss. Participants were asked about confidence in understanding indications and skills for tourniquets. Results: The 53 corpsmen enrolled in the study were randomly assigned as follows: 26 to the TT arm and 27 to the PCT arm. Corpsmen in the PCT group controlled bleeding with the first tourniquet more frequently (96% versus 83%; p < .03), were quicker to hemorrhage control (39 versus 45 seconds; p < .01), and lost less simulated blood (256mL versus 355mL; p < .01). There was a trend toward increased confidence in tourniquet application among all corpsmen. Conclusions: Using a perfused- cadaver training model, corpsmen placed tourniquets more rapidly and with less simulated-blood loss than their traditional training counterparts. They were more likely to control hemorrhage with first tourniquet placement and gain confidence in this procedure. Additional studies are indicated to identify components of effective simulation training for tourniquets.

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Willingness of Emergency Medical Services Professionals to Respond to an Active Shooter Incident

Chovaz M, Patel RV, March JA, Taylor SE, Brewer KL 18(4). 82 - 86 (Journal Article)

Background: Historically, staging of civilian emergency medical services (EMS) during an active shooter incident was in the cold zone while these professionals awaited the scene to be completely secured by multiple waves of law enforcement. This delay in EMS response has led to the development of a more effective method: the Rescue Task Force (RTF). The RTF concept has the second wave of law enforcement escorting civilian EMS into the warm zone, thus decreasing EMS response time. To our knowledge, there are no data regarding the willingness of EMS professionals to enter a warm zone as part of an RTF. In this study, we assessed the willingness of EMS providers to respond to an active shooter incident as part of an RTF. Methods: A survey was distributed at an annual, educational EMS conference in North Carolina. The surveys were distributed on the first day of the conference at the beginning of a general session that focused on EMS stress and wellness. Total attendance was measured using identification badges and scanners on exiting the session. Data were assessed using χ2 analysis, as were associations between demographics of interest and willingness to respond under certain conditions. A p value < .01 indicated statistical significance. Results: The overall response rate was 76% (n = 391 of 515 session attendees). Most surveys were completed by paramedics (74%; n = 288 of 391). Most EMS professionals (75%; n = 293 of 391) stated they would respond to the given active shooter scenario as part of an RTF (escorted by the second wave of law enforcement) if they were given only ballistic gear. However, most EMS professionals (61%; n = 239 of 391) stated they would not respond if they were provided no ballistic gear and no firearm. Those with tactical or military training were more willing to respond with no ballistic gear and no firearm (49.6%; n = 68 of 137) versus those without such training (31%; n = 79 of 250; odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.3; p < .001). Conclusion: EMS professionals are willing to put themselves in harm's way by entering a warm zone if they are simply provided the proper training and ballistic equipment.

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Shooter-Experienced Blast Overpressure in .50-Caliber Rifles

Lang M, Kamimori GH, Misistia A, LaValle CR, Ramos AN, Ghebremedhin MY, Egnoto MJ 18(4). 87 - 91 (Journal Article)

Background: Increasingly, military and law enforcement are using .50-caliber rifles for conflict resolution involving barricades, armor, vehicles, and situations that require increased kinetic energy. Consequences to the shooter resulting from the blast produced while firing these rifles remain unknown. We measured blast overpressure (OP) and impulse across various positions, environments, and weapon configurations to evaluate blast exposures to shooters. Methods: Two separate, multiday, .50-caliber rifle training courses were evaluated to understand the blast exposure profile received from various tactical training scenarios, such as different firing positions (e.g., standing, prone, seated, kneeling) and locations (e.g., inside and atop vehicles, inside buildings, on hard/soft surfaces) across a variety of .50-caliber rifles with various barrel lengths, muzzle devices, and ammunition. Blackbox Biometrics, Generation 6, gauges were placed on operators to measure incident blast exposure. A total of 444 rounds fired from various .50-caliber rifles were evaluated to determine what OP was received by 32 different shooters. Results: Our findings indicate OPs >4 psi are common and that muzzle devices are critical to blast exposure. Shooting positions closer to the ground experienced higher OP and impulse than did other positions. Suppressors mitigated blast effects well. Conclusion: When resources and operational parameters allow, suppressors are recommended, as are positions that move the shooter farther from reflective surfaces (standing preferred) to effectively reduce blast exposure. These shooter positions may require the use of supplemental rifle rests/tripods to provide sufficiently stable firing platforms from the standing position.

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Evaluation of a Concept for a Military Expedition Performance Environment

Berendsen RR, Vieyra B, Rietjens GJ, Beckers RT, van Hulst RA, Boumeester CE, Hoencamp R 18(4). 75 - 81 (Journal Article)

To evaluate four factors essential in the preparation of high-altitude expeditions and of the performance during these expeditions, the Manaslu 2016 Medical Team, as part of the medical team of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (RNLMC), developed the Military Expedition Performance Environment (MEPE) concept. The scope of this concept is intended to cover (1) selection of a team, (2) medical planning and support, (3) competencies in the field (team work and human factors), and (4) and chain of command.

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Differences in Stress Shoot Performance Among Special Forces Operators Who Participate in a Human Performance Program Versus Those Who Do Not

Canada DM, Dawes JJ, Lindsay KG, Elder C, Goldberg P, Bartley N, Werth K, Bricker D, Fischer T 18(4). 64 - 68 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if Army Special Operation Forces (ARSOF) Operators who participate in the Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning program perform significantly better on a simulated stress shoot scenario than ARSOF Operators who do not participate in the program. Methods: Deidentified archival data from 64 male ARSOF Operators (mean ± standard deviation: age, 31.1 ± 4.96 years; SOF experience, 3.44 ± 4.10 years) who participated in the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat stress shoot were assessed to determine if differences in performance existed between program users (n = 25) and nonusers (n = 39). A series of bootstrapped analyses of variance in conjunction with effect-size calculations was conducted to determine if significant mean score differences existed between users and nonusers on raw and total course completion times, high-value target acquisition (positive identification time), and penalties accrued. Results: Small to medium effect sizes were observed between users and nonusers in raw time, penalties, and total time. Although there were no significant differences between users and nonusers, there was less variation in raw time and total time in users compared with nonusers. Conclusion: Our findings becomes a question of practical versus statistical significance, because less performance variability while under physical and psychological duress could be life saving for ARSOF Operators.

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Feasibility Study Vascular Access and REBOA Placement: From Zero to Hero

Borger van der Burg BL, Maayen RC, van Dongen TT, Gerben C, Eric C, DuBose JJ, Horer TM, Bowyer MW, Hoencamp R 18(4). 70 - 74 (Journal Article)

Background: Vascular access is a necessary prerequisite for REBOA placement in patients with severe hemorrhagic shock. Methods: During an EVTM workshop, 10 Special Forces (SOF) medics, five combat nurses, four military nonsurgeon physicians, and four military surgeons participated in our training program. The military surgeons functioned as the control group. A formalized curriculum was constructed including basic anatomy and training in access materials for resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) placement. Key skills were (1) preparation of endovascular toolkit, (2) achieving vascular access in the model, and (3) bleeding control with REBOA. Results: The baseline knowledge of anatomy for SOF medics was significantly less than that for nurses and physicians. Medics had a median time of 3:59 minutes to sheath insertion; nurses, 2:47; physicians, 2:34; and surgeons, 1:39. Military surgeons were significantly faster than medics and military nurses (ρ = .037 resp. 0.034). Medics had a median total time from start to REBOA inflation of 5:05 minutes; nurses, 4:06; military physicians, 3:36; and surgeons, 2:36. Conclusion: This study showed that a comprehensive theoretical and practical training program using a task training model can be used for percutaneous femoral access and REBOA placement training of military medical personnel without prior ultrasound or endovascular experience. Higher levels of training reduce procedure times.

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Use of Drone Technology for Delivery of Medical Supplies During Prolonged Field Care

Mesar T, Lessig A, King DR 18(4). 34 - 35 (Journal Article)

Background: Care of trauma casualties in an austere environment presents many challenges, particularly when evacuation is not immediately available. Man-packable medical supplies may be consumed by a single casualty, and resupply may not be possible before evacuation, particularly during prolonged field care scenarios. We hypothesized that unmanned aerial drones could successfully deliver life-sustaining medical supplies to a remote, denied environment where vehicle or foot traffic is impossible or impractical. Methods: Using an unmanned, rotary- wing drone, we simulated delivery of a customizable, 4.5kg load of medical equipment, including tourniquets, dressings, analgesics, and blood products. A simulated casualty was positioned in a remote area. The flight was preprogrammed on the basis of grid coordinates and flew on autopilot beyond visual range; data (altitude, flight time, route) were recorded live by high-altitude Shadow drone. Delivery time was compared to the known US military standards for traversing uneven topography by foot or wheeled vehicle. Results: Four flights were performed. Data are given as mean (± standard deviation). Time from launch to delivery was 20.77 ± 0.05 minutes (cruise speed, 34.03 ± 0.15 km/h; mean range, 12.27 ± 0.07 km). Medical supplies were delivered successfully within 1m of the target. The drone successfully returned to the starting point every flight. Resupply by foot would take 5.1 hours with an average speed of 2.4km/h and 61.35 minutes, with an average speed of 12 km/h for a wheeled vehicle, if a rudimentary road existed. Conclusion: Use of unmanned drones is feasible for delivery of life-saving medical supplies in austere environments. Drones repeatedly and accurately delivered medical supplies faster than other methods without additional risk to personnel or manned airframe. This technology may have benefit for austere care of military and civilian casualties.

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Advanced Resuscitative Care in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 18-01:14 October 2018

Butler FK, Holcomb JB, Shackelford S, Barbabella S, Bailey JA, Baker JB, Cap AP, Conklin CC, Cunningham CW, Davis MS, DeLellis SM, Dorlac WC, DuBose JJ, Eastridge B, Fisher AD, Glasser JJ, Gurney J, Jenkins DA, Johannigman J, King DR, Kotwal RS, Littlejohn LF, Mabry RL, Martin MJ, Miles EA, Montgomery HR, Northern DM, O'Connor KC, Rasmussen TE, Riesberg JC, Spinella PC, Stockinger Z, Strandenes G, Via DK, Weber MA 18(4). 37 - 55 (Journal Article)

TCCC has previously recommended interventions that can effectively prevent 4 of the top 5 causes of prehospital preventable death in combat casualties-extremity hemorrhage, junctional hemorrhage, airway obstruction, and tension pneumothorax- and deaths from these causes have been markedly reduced in US combat casualties. Noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) is the last remaining major cause of preventable death on the battlefield and often causes death within 30 minutes of wounding. Increased use of whole blood, including the capability for massive transfusion, if indicated, has the potential to increase survival in casualties with either thoracic and/or abdominopelvic hemorrhage. Additionally, Zone 1 Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) can provide temporary control of bleeding in the abdomen and pelvis and improve hemodynamics in casualties who may be approaching traumatic cardiac arrest as a result of hemorrhagic shock. Together, these two interventions are designated Advanced Resuscitative Care (ARC) and may enable casualties with severe NCTH to survive long enough to reach the care of a surgeon. Although Special Operations units are now using whole blood far-forward, this capability is not routinely present in other US combat units at this point in time. REBOA is not envisioned as care that could be accomplished by a unit medic working out of his or her aid bag. This intervention should be undertaken only by designated teams of advanced combat medical personnel with special training and equipment.

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Use Your Noodle to Simulate Tourniquet Use on a Limb With and Without Bone

Kragh JF, Zhao NO, Aden JK, Dubick MA 18(4). 57 - 63 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to simulate first aid by mechanical use of a limb tourniquet on a thigh with and without bone to better understand best caregiving practices. Methods: Two investigators studied simulated first aid on a new pool "noodle," a plastic cylinder with a central air tunnel into which we inserted a wood dowel to simulate bone. Data were gathered by group (study and control, n = 12 each). The control group comprised data collected from simulated tourniquet use on the model with bone present. The study group comprised data from simulated tourniquet use on the model without bone. Results: Comparing compression with and without bone, the mean volumes of compressed soft tissues alone were 303mL and 306mL, respectively. When bone was present, the volume of soft tissues was squeezed more, yielding a smaller size by 3mL (1%). The bone had a volume of 41mL and pressed statically outward with an equal force oppositely directed to the inward compression of the overlying soft tissues. With bone removed and compression applied, the mean residual void was 16mL, because 25mL (i.e., 41mL minus 16mL) of soft tissues had collapsed inward. The volume of the limb under the tourniquet with and without bone was 344mL and 322mL, respectively. The collapse volume, 25mL, was 3mL more than the difference of the mean volume of the limb under the tourniquet. More limb squeeze (22mL) looked like better compression, but it was actually worse-an illusion created by collapse of the hidden void. Conclusion: In simulated first aid, mechanical modeling demonstrated how tourniquet compression applied to a limb squeezed the soft tissues better when underlying bone was present. Bone loss altered the compression profile and may complicate control of bleeding in care. This knowledge, its depiction, and its demonstration may inform first-aid instructors.

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Pneumonitis and Respiratory Failure Secondary to Civilian Exposure to a Smoke Bomb in a Partially Enclosed Space

Murray BP, Ralston SA, Dunkley CA, Carpenter JE, Geller RJ, Kazzi Z 18(4). 24 - 26 (Case Reports)

Smoke grenades are used during drills, police and military exercises, and crowd control. We report on a 25-year-old man who was exposed to a Superior 3C smoke bomb. He was initially stable but developed respiratory distress after 3 days and ultimately developed pulmonary fibrosis with marked loss in pulmonary function. The Superior 3C smoke bomb is similar in composition to the British Military's L83A1/2 and L132A1 and the US M18 smoke grenades, all commonly used as multipurpose smoke-producing devices for combat and training. They are primarily composed of zinc oxide and hexachlorethane, the combustion of which produces zinc chloride. These devices are safe when used properly in open air but can cause significant morbidity in an enclosed space. This case emphasizes the potential hazards of using smoke bombs even in semienclosed spaces and the potential delay in the development of significant pulmonary complications.

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Guerrilla Hospital Design and Lessons Learned

Farr WD 18(4). 30 - 33 (Journal Article)

The author discusses the lessons that can be learned from older sources when engaging in guerilla warfare medicine and surgery.

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Medicine on the Edge of Darkness

Christensen PA 18(1). 150 - 154 (Journal Article)

Austere care of the wounded is challenging for all Western medical professionals-nurse, medic, or physician. There can be no doubt that working for the first time, either for a nongovernment organization or in the Special Forces, you will be taking care of wounded patients outside your training and experience. You must have the ability to adapt to and overcome lack of resources and equipment, and accept standards of treatment often very different and lower than that common in western hospitals. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was asked to provide relief for the Pakistan Red Crescent in 1982 and set up the ICRC Hospital for Afghan War Wounded in Peshawar on the border to Afghanistan. This article relates how a western-trained young anesthetist on a ICRC surgical team experienced this, at the time, austere environment.

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Larger-Caliber Alternative Devices for Decompression of Tension Hemopneumothorax in the Setting of Hemorrhagic Shock

McEvoy CS, Leatherman ML, Held JM, Fluke LM, Ricca RL, Polk T 18(4). 18 - 23 (Case Reports)

Background: The 14-gauge (14G) angiocatheter (AC) has an unacceptably high failure rate in treatment of tension pneumothorax (tPTX). Little is known regarding the interplay among hemorrhage, hemothorax (HTX), and tPTX. We hypothesized that increased hemorrhage predisposes tension physiology and that needle decompression fails more often with increased HTX. Methods: This is a planned secondary analysis of data from our recent comparison of 14G AC with 10-gauge (10G) AC, modified 14G Veress needle, and 3mm laparoscopic trocar conducted in a positive pressure ventilation tension hemopneumothorax model using anesthetized swine. Susceptibility to tension physiology was extrapolated from volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) instilled and time required to induce 50% reduction in cardiac output. Failures to rescue and recover were compared between the 10% and 20% estimated blood volume (EBV) HTX groups and across devices. Results: A total of 196 tension hemopneumothorax events were evaluated. No differences were noted in the volume of CO2 instilled nor time to tension physiology. HTX with 10% EBV had fewer failures compared with 20% HTX (7% versus 23%; p = .002). For larger-caliber devices, there was no difference between HTX groups, whereas smaller-caliber devices had more failures and longer time to rescue with increased HTX volume as well as increased variability in times to rescue in both HTX volume groups. Conclusion: Increased HTX volume did not predispose tension physiology; however, smaller-caliber devices were associated with more failures and longer times to rescue in 20% HTX as compared with 10% HTX. Use of larger devices for decompression has benefit and further study with more profound hemorrhage and HTX and spontaneous breathing models is warranted.

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Introduction to the NATO Special Operations Combat Medic Research Ongoing Series

Sardianos D, Boland J 19(2). 118 - 121 (Journal Article)

Technology has become a necessity in modern society, providing capabilities that have never been experienced before. The integration of such capabilities arms today's Special Operations medic with abilities that can make a vast difference to the survivability rate of an ill or injured patient. Taking advantage of new technological capabilities such as advanced monitoring and diagnostics and portable ultrasound also plays a key role; together with the evolution in modern communication.

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I Can't Breathe-A SIPe of Water

Urbaniak MK, Hampton K 18(1). 145 (Journal Article)

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Exertional Heat Stroke: Pathophysiology, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Knapik JJ, Epstein Y 19(2). 108 - 116 (Journal Article)

Temperature increases due to climate changes and operations expected to be conducted in hot environments make heat-related injuries a major medical concern for the military. The most serious of heat-related injuries is exertional heat stroke (EHS). EHS generally occurs when health individual perform physical activity in hot environments and the balance between body heat production and heat dissipation is upset resulting in excessive body heat storage. Blood flow to the skin is increased to assist in dissipating heat while gut blood flow is considerably reduced, and this increases the permeability of the gastrointestinal mucosa. Toxic materials from gut bacteria leak through the gastrointestinal mucosa into the central circulation triggering an inflammatory response, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), multiorgan failure, and vascular collapse. In addition, high heat directly damages cellular proteins resulting in cellular death. In the United States military, the overall incidence of clinically diagnosed heat stroke from 1998 to 2017 was (mean ± standard deviation) 2.7 ± 0.5 cases/10,000 Soldier-years and outpatient rates rose over this period. The cornerstone of EHS diagnosis is recognition of central nervous dysfunction (ataxia, loss of balance, convulsions, irrational behavior, unusual behavior, inappropriate comments, collapse, and loss of consciousness) and a body core temperature (obtained with a rectal thermometer) usually >40.5°C (105°F). The gold standard treatment is whole body cold water immersion. In the field where water immersion is not available it may be necessary to use ice packs or very cold, wet towels placed over as much of the body as possible before transportation of the victim to higher levels of medical care. The key to prevention of EHS and other heat-related injuries is proper heat acclimation, understanding work/rest cycles, proper hydration during activity, and assuring that physical activity is matched to the Soldiers' fitness levels. Also, certain dietary supplements (DSs) may have effects on energy expenditure, gastrointestinal function, and thermoregulation that should be considered and understood. In many cases over-motivation is a major risk factor. Commanders and trainers should be alert to any change in the Soldier's behavior. Proper attention to these factors should considerably reduce the incidence of EHS.

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Fever of Unknown Origin in US Soldier: Telemedical Consultation Limitations in a Deployment to West Africa

Auchincloss PJ, Nam JJ, Blyth D, Childs G, Kraft K, Robben PM, Pamplin JC 19(2). 123 - 126 (Journal Article)

Objective: Review the application of telemedicine support for managing a patient with possible sepsis, suspected malaria, and unusual musculoskeletal symptoms. Clinical Context: Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) supporting US Army Africa/Southern European Task Force (USARAF/ SETAF) in the Africa Command area of responsibility. Care provided by a small Role I facility on the compound. Organic Medical Expertise: Five 68W combat medics (one is the patient); one SOCM trained 68W combat medic. No US provider present in country. Closest Medical Support: Organic battalion physician assistant (PA) located in the USA; USARAF PA located in Italy; French Role II located in bordering West African country; medical consultation sought via telephone, WhatsApp® (communication with French physician) or over unclassified, encrypted e-mail. Earliest Evacuation: Estimated at 12 to 24 hours with appropriate country clearances and approval to fly from three countries including French forces support approval.

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Update: Five Years of Prolonged Field Care in Special Operations Medicine

Riesberg JC, Loos PE 19(2). 122 (Journal Article)

This brief quarterly update from the SOMA Prolonged Field Care (PFC) Working Group focuses on the first of ten sequential reviews of the PFC Core Capabilities, starting with advanced airway management.

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Improvised Inguinal Junctional Tourniquets: Recommendations From the Special Operations Combat Medical Skills Sustainment Course

Kerr W, Hubbard B, Anderson B, Montgomery HR, Glassberg E, King DR, Hardin RD, Knight RM, Cunningham CW 19(2). 128 - 133 (Journal Article)

Effectively and rapidly controlling significant junctional hemorrhage is an important effort of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) and can potentially contribute to greater survival on the battlefield. Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved labeling of four devices for use as junctional tourniquets, many Special Operations Forces (SOF) medics do not carry commercially marketed junctional tourniquets. As part of ongoing educational improvement during Special Operations Combat Medical Skills Sustainment Courses (SOCMSSC), the authors surveyed medics to determine why they do not carry commercial tourniquets and present principles and methods of improvised junctional tourniquet (IJT) application. The authors describe the construction and application of IJTs, including the use of available pressure delivery devices and emphasizing that successful application requires sufficient and repetitive training.

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