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What Is the Optimal Device Length and Insertion Site for Needle Thoracostomy in UK Military Casualties? A Computed Tomography Study

Blenkinsop G, Mossadegh S, Ballard M, Parker P 15(3). 60 - 65 (Journal Article)

Significant lessons to inform best practice in trauma care should be learned from the last decade of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. This study used radiological data collated in the UK Military Hospital in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, to investigate the most appropriate device length for needle chest decompression of tension pneumothorax (TP). We reviewed the optimal length of device and site needed for needle decompression of a tension pneumothorax in a UK military population and found no significant difference between sites for needle chest decompression (NCD). As a result, we do not recommend use of devices longer than 60mm for UK service personnel.

Associations Among Back and Extremity Pain With Alcohol, Tobacco, and Caffeine Use Among US Air Force Pararescuemen

Bryan CJ, Wolfe AL, Morrow CE, Stephenson JA, Haskell J, Bryan AO 15(3). 66 - 71 (Journal Article)

Background: Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are the most widely used substances globally, but the majority of research on the associations among legal substance use and physical health has focused on the general population, not elite military personnel. The purpose of the current study was to describe patterns of tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine use and to examine the relationship of legal substance use with self-reported physical health complaints among US Air Force Pararescuemen (PJs) and Combat Rescue Officers (CROs). Methods: Participants were 196 US PJs and CROs. Participants completed self-report measures of legal drug use and somatic symptoms. Generalized linear modeling with robust maximum likelihood estimation was used for multivariate regression analyses. Chi-square analyses were conducted for univariate comparisons of categorical variables. Results: Reported rates of tobacco use (28.2%), alcohol consumption (83.2%), and regular caffeine consumption (88.8%) were similar to the general population. Daily caffeine intake was significantly higher among participants reporting they were bothered a lot by back pain [Wald χ²(2) = 11.39; ρ = .003] and extremity pain [Wald χ²(2) = 11.39; ρ = .003], even when controlling for age and deployment history. Participants with severe extremity pain also reported drinking approximately twice as many alcoholic beverages per week (mean, 5.46; standard error [SE], 0.91) than participants who were bothered a little (mean, 2.88; SE, 0.54) or not bothered at all (mean, 2.88; SE, 0.52) by extremity pain. Conclusion: Back and extremity pain is associated with greater caffeine and alcohol consumption among PJs.

The Ranger First Responder Program and Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Implementation: A Whole-Community Approach to Reducing Mortality From Active Violent Incidents

Fisher AD, Callaway DW, Robertson JN, Hardwick SA, Bobko JP, Kotwal RS 15(3). 46 - 53 (Journal Article)

Active violent incidents are dynamic and challenging situations that can produce a significant amount of preventable deaths. Lessons learned from the military's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq through the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and the 75th Ranger Regiment's Ranger First Responder Program have helped create the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC) to address the uniqueness of similar wounding patterns and to end preventable deaths. We propose a whole-community approach to active violent incidents, using the C-TECC Trauma Chain of Survival and a tiered approach for training and responsibilities: the first care provider, nonmedical professional first responders, medical first responders, and physicians and trauma surgeons. The different tiers are critical early links in the Chain of Survival and this approach will have a significant impact on active violent incidents.

Kitona 2013: A Medical Readiness Training Exercise in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Leading to Lion Rouge

Hesse E, Okito EA, Mann K, McCullough M, Lesho E 15(3). 54 - 59 (Journal Article)

Background: Health initiatives support regional stability and are a priority for US and African partners. We present data and experience from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a strategically and epidemiologically ideal location for collaborative medical engagement (CME). Our objectives included relationship building, exposure of US military medical personnel to uncommon tropical diseases, bolstering a referral hospital, and updating Congolese physicians on new treatment or preventive standards of care. Methods: We conducted a CMEstyled medical readiness training exercise (MEDRETE) at the Military Referral Hospital of Kitona in June 2013. US and Congolese healthcare providers presented 20 lectures and evaluated 158 patients collaboratively; 132 for infections. Results: The CME led to Lion Rouge, the first joint military, multidisciplinary engagement between the respective militaries. Equally noteworthy is that some of the same participants returned to the same location for the follow-on exercise, providing continuity. Conclusion: These outcomes suggest the MEDRETE and CME approaches were successful.

The Operational Canine and K9 Tactical Emergency Casualty Care Initiative

Palmer LE, Maricle R, Brenner J 15(3). 32 - 38 (Journal Article)

Background: Approximately 20% to 25% of traumarelated, prehospital fatalities in humans are due to preventable deaths. Data are lacking, however, on the nature and the prevalence of operational canine (OC) prehospital deaths. It is plausible that OCs engaged in high-threat operations are also at risk for suffering some type of preventable death. Tactical Combat Casualty Care has significantly reduced human fatality rates on the battlefield. Standardized guidelines specifically for prehospital trauma care have not been developed for the OC caregiver. An initiation has been approved by the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care to form a K9-Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) working group to develop such guidelines. Significance: The intent of the K9-TECC initiative is to form best practice recommendations for the civilian high-risk OC caregiver. These recommendations are to focus on interventions that (1) eliminate the major causes of canine out-of-hospital preventable deaths, (2) are easily learned and applied by any civilian first responder, and (2) minimize resource consumption.

Conceptualized Use of Self-Expanding Foam to Rescue Special Operators From Abdominal Exsanguination: Percutaneous Damage Control for the Forward Deployed

Rago AP, Sharma U, Sims K, King DR 15(3). 39 - 45 (Journal Article)

Background: Noncompressible hemorrhage is the leading cause of potentially survivable death on the battlefield. In Special Operations Forces (SOF), 50% of potentially survivable deaths have been related to noncompressible hemorrhage. Currently, there are no widely available presurgical interventions that can slow abdominal bleeding. Consequently, many of the preventable deaths occur en route to definitive care as a failure to rescue from exsanguination. A self-expanding polyurethane foam has been developed as a percutaneous damage control intervention to rescue casualties who would otherwise die of noncompressible hemorrhage, and allow them to survive long enough to reach surgical intervention. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the existing preclinical data, describe the role of SOF personnel in foam delivery-system development, and to integrate these together to conceptualize how foam could be incorporated into SOF medical care. Methods: All existing publications on self-expanding foam are reviewed. Additionally, eight SOF medical providers with combat experience provided end-user input to delivery-device design through an interactive human-factors testing process. Results: Ten preclinical publications described efficacy, safety, dose translation, and risk-benefit analysis of exsanguination rescue with percutaneous-foam damage control. SOF medical providers guided weight, cubic, operational requirements, and limits for the foam delivery device. Conclusion: Presurgical exsanguination rescue with percutaneous foam damage control is safe and effective with a favorable risk-benefit profile in preclinical studies. Battlefield, presurgical use by SOF medical providers is conceptually possible. Adoption of the technology on the battlefield should proceed with SOF medical provider input.

Emergency Cricothyroidotomy in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Mabry RL, Frankfurt A, Kharod C, Butler FK 15(3). 11 - 19 (Journal Article)

Junctional Tourniquet Training Experience

Kragh JF, Geracci JJ, Parsons DL, Robinson JB, Biever KA, Rein EB, Glassberg E, Strandenes G, Chen J, Benov A, Marcozzi D, Shackelford S, Cox KM, Mann-Salinas EA 15(3). 20 - 30 (Journal Article)

Since 2009, out-of-hospital care of junctional hemorrhage bleeding from the trunk-appendage junctions has changed, in part, due to the newly available junctional tourniquets (JTs) that have been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration. Given four new models of JT available in 2014, several military services have begun to acquire, train, or even use such JTs in care. The ability of users to be trained in JT use has been observed by multiple instructors. The experience of such instructors has been broad as a group, but their experience as individuals has been neither long nor deep. A gathering into one source of the collective experience of trainers of JT users could permit a collation of useful information to include lessons learned, tips in skill performance, identification of pitfalls of use to avoid, and strategies to optimize user learning. The purpose of the present review is to record the experiences of several medical personnel in their JT training of users to provide a guide for future trainers.

Frostbite: A Novel Presentation of Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency?

Bowles JM, Joas C, Head S 15(3). 1 - 3 (Case Reports)

Acute hemolytic anemia (AHA) due to glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency has rarely been recognized as a contributor to the development of frostbite. We discuss a case of frostbite in a 32-year-old male Marine with G6PD deficiency during military training on Mount Mckinley in Alaska, which eventually led to a permanent disability. In this report, the pathophysiology of G6PD deficiency, the effects of hemolytic anemia, and factors that contribute to frostbite will be discussed, as well as the clinical findings, treatment course, and the outcome of this case. The patient was evacuated and admitted to Alaska Regional Hospital. He was treated for fourth-degree frostbite, ultimately resulting in the complete or partial amputation of all toes. Although it cannot be proved that AHA occurred in this patient, this case potentially adds frostbite to the list of rare but possible clinical presentations of G6PD deficiency.

Evaluation for Testosterone Deficiency

Grumbo R, Haight D 15(3). 4 - 9 (Journal Article)

There has been a recent increase in the number of Operators presenting to clinics for evaluation of possible low testosterone. In response, USASOC recently released an Androgen Deficiency Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) to help guide providers through the initial evaluation and treatment of patients. The diagnosis of hypogonadism is based on consistent signs and symptoms of androgen deficiency and unequivocally low serum testosterone (below 300ng/dL). Testosterone levels can change for a variety of reasons and an adequate evaluation requires multiple laboratory tests over a period of time. If a diagnosis of hypogonadism is confirmed, differentiating between primary and secondary hypogonadism can help guide further care. Testosterone replacement therapy options are available, but careful monitoring for side-effects is required. Controversy still exists surrounding the safety of testosterone replacement therapy, and referral to endocrinology should strongly be considered before initiating treatment.

POW and Detainee Operations: Lessons Unlearned

Caci JB 15(2). 139 - 143 (Journal Article)

Throughout the history of modern warfare, tales of atrocities have repeatedly surfaced that depict active and passive aggression toward prisoners of war (POWs). Yet, with each conflict, new tales are born and an undeniable reality of warfare inflicts fresh scars for aggressors to bear. It is understandable, based on human nature and the goals of war, that a government (or its representatives) will feel malice toward enemy prisoners captured during a conflict. It is unquestionably a challenge to overcome that human nature, despite the statutes that outline lawful treatment of POWs. While most aspects of warfare have been revolutionized throughout history, the means by which a military deals with its POWs remains somewhat mired in the reticence of leaders to acknowledge that it will factor into every conflict-that it will, in fact, become a source of controversy as long as it is handled as an afterthought. As shown in accounts dating back to the Revolutionary War, the law can only influence human nature to a point, especially when resources are limited, ignorance is a reality, and no one is watching.

Fuzileiros Portugueses (Portuguese Marines)

Ferreira B 15(2). 144 - 146 (Journal Article)


Yetto T 15(2). 132 - 135 (Journal Article)

An active duty Sailor has a long history of skin lesions on his scalp, chest, back, and legs. He was evaluated and treated previously but could not recall the specific details. He is diagnosed with plaque psoriasis, an immune-mediated chronic disease. This article reviews the etiology, morphology, diagnosis, and treatment of psoriasis.

Preventive Medicine and Its Role in the Special Operation Forces Medical Team

Agudelo JJ 15(2). 136 - 138 (Journal Article)

Throughout history, Soldiers in wartime have been especially vulnerable to infectious diseases, which have devastated and decimated entire armies, causing suspension and, in some cases, complete cancellation of military operations. Dr William Foege, a renowned Harvard epidemiologist, and his colleagues claim that throughout history, infectious diseases have killed more Soldiers than have weapons. Reality shows that it does not matter if your Soldiers had the best training available with the best equipment and top of the world intelligence: if your personnel get sick, they become more of a liability than an asset for a combat operation. This article presents some of the key findings that continue to affect our Special Operations Forces (SOF) and how the use of specifically designed new products can help in controlling short- and long-term consequences of infectious diseases.

The Importance of Physical Fitness for Injury Prevention: Part 2

Knapik JJ 15(2). 112 - 115 (Journal Article)

This report examines associations between injuries and flexibility, stretching, warm-up, and body composition. Military studies show that either too much or too little flexibility increases injury risk. Static stretching prior to exercise does not appear to reduce the overall injury incidence, although further research is needed on some types of injuries. Static stretching also appears to reduce strength and power (explosive strength). Warm-up (low intensity activity prior to exercise or sports) appears to reduce injury risk. Body mass index (BMI; weight in kg/ height in m²) is a surrogate measure of body fat because it is highly related to laboratory measures of body fat. However, Soldiers can also have a high BMI because of higher muscle mass. If high BMI reflects a larger percentage of body fat relative to height, injury risk might be increased because the additional fat would increase the intensity of physical activity, leading to more rapid fatigue and repetitive stress on the musculoskeletal system. Low BMI could reflect a paucity of fat or muscle/ bone, or both. Low BMI may make Soldiers more susceptible to injury if they lack the muscle mass or strength in the supportive structures (ligaments, bones) required to perform certain physical tasks, and if they overexert or overuse the available muscle mass or supportive structures. Studies in basic combat training show that both high and low BMI increases injury risk. However, studies among active duty Soldiers only show that injury risk increases as BMI increases, possibly because very few active duty Soldiers have very low BMI (i.e., less than 18 kg/m²).

A Descriptive Analysis of US Prehospital Care Response to Law Enforcement Tactical Incidents

Aberle SJ, Lohse CM, Sztajnkrycer MD 15(2). 117 - 122 (Journal Article)

Background: Law enforcement tactical incidents involve high-risk operations that exceed the capabilities of regular, uniformed police. Despite the existence of tactical teams for 50 years, little is known about the frequency or nature of emergency medical services (EMS) response to tactical events in the United States. The purpose of this study was to perform a descriptive analysis of tactical events reported to a national EMS database. Methods: Descriptive analysis of the 2012 National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS) Public Release research data set, containing EMS emergency response data from 41 states. Results: A total of 17,479,328 EMS events were reported, of which 3,953 events were coded as "Activation-Tactical or SWAT Specialty Service/Response Team." The most common level of prehospital care present on scene was basic life support (55.2%). The majority (72.3%) of tactical incident activations involved a single patient; mass casualty incidents occurred in 0.5% of events. The most common EMS response locations were homes (48.4%), streets or highways (37.0%), and public buildings (6.3%). The mean age of treated patients was 44.1 years ± 22.0 years; 3.5% of tactical incident activation patients were aged 8 years or less. Injuries were coded as firearm assault in 14.8% and as chemical exposure in 8.9% of events. Cardiac arrest occurred in 5.1% of patients, with the majority (92.2%) occurring prior to EMS arrival. The primary symptoms reported by EMS personnel were pain (37.4%), change in responsiveness (13.1%), and bleeding (8.1%). Advanced airway procedures occurred in 30 patients. No patients were documented as receiving tourniquets or needle thoracostomy. Conclusion: Approximately 11 EMS responses in support of law enforcement tactical operations occur daily in the United States. The majority occur in homes and involve a single patient. Advanced airway procedures are required in a minority of patients. Cardiac arrest is rare and occurs prior to EMS response in the majority of cases. Better understanding of the nature and location of EMS responses to tactical incidents is required to develop consistent EMS policies in support of law enforcement tactical operations.

A Case Study of MEDCANGRO Relative to RAND Conceptual Framework*

Scott A, Hogan R 15(2). 123 - 131 (Journal Article)

The 2010 Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction 6000.16, Military Health Support for Stability Operations, established medical stability operations as a core military mission. National military leaders appreciated that to better manage risks for US military personnel operating in far forward locations, reduce cost and footprint requirements for operations, and aid partner nations with providing service to relevant populations in underserviced/undergoverned the US military would need to be employed strategically in efforts to build partner nation medical capacity. Medical Stability Operations has evolved into Global Health Engagement in the lexicon of planners but the goal is still the same. This article used a technical report authored by the RAND Corporation as the basis of a case study of a Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAF) Mission to the country of Niger to build a casualty evacuation capability. The case study evaluates the utility of a hypothetical framework developed by the RAND researchers relative to the actual events and outcomes of an actual mission. The principal finding is that the RAND technical report is of value to planners, Operators, and trainers as a systematic approach to successful building partner capacity in health (BPC-H) missions. The article also offers several examples of metrics that aid leadership in making better decisions as to when corrective actions might be required.

Monitoring Training for Human Performance Optimization

Austin KG, Deuster PA 15(2). 102 - 108 (Journal Article)

Physical fitness can significantly impact the mission success of Special Operations Forces (SOF). Much like athletes, Operators have multiple training components including technical, tactical, physical and mental conditioning, which must simultaneously be developed for mission success. Balancing multiple physical stressors to ensure positive results from training can be achieved through periodization-the intentional planning for success. Monitoring the training load can assist SOF in managing training stress and designing periodization that minimizes fatigue. The present article provides an overview of modern technology developed to quantify the stress of training. The training load maintained by SOF consists of external loads created through physical work and internal units of load determined by the rate of perceived effort during training that must be integrated in a manner that minimizes the accumulation of fatigue. Methods for determining training load are discussed in this article and examples are provided for determining training load, developing conditioning sessions and utilizing training load to maintain physical fitness, and improve return from injury.

Q Fever

Burnett MW 15(2). 109 - 111 (Journal Article)

Q fever is a zoonotic disease found throughout the world. It is caused by the intracellular gram-negative bacterium Coxiella burnetii. Infection by C. burnetii occurs primarily by inhalation of the aerosolized bacteria from birthing animals or contaminated dust. The bacterium is very resistant to drying and heat, and is considered highly endemic in the Middle East, where it is likely underdiagnosed. Special Operations Forces medical providers should be aware of this disease, which must be in the differential diagnosis of a patient who has a history of fever, elevated liver enzymes, pneumonia in its acute form, and endocarditis, especially in those with existing valvular heart disease in its chronic form.

Interobserver Variability in Injury Severity Scoring After Combat Trauma: Different Perspectives, Different Values?

Smith IM, Naumann DN, Guyver P, Bishop J, Davies S, Lundy JB, Bowley DM 15(2). 86 - 93 (Journal Article)

Background: Anatomic measures of injury burden provide key information for studies of prehospital and in-hospital trauma care. The military version of the Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS(M)] is used to score injuries in deployed military hospitals. Estimates of total trauma burden are derived from this. These scores are used for categorization of patients, assessment of care quality, and research studies. Scoring is normally performed retrospectively from chart review. We compared data recorded in the UK Joint Theatre Trauma Registry (JTTR) and scores calculated independently at the time of surgery by the operating surgeons to assess the concordance between surgeons and trauma nurse coordinators in assigning injury severity scores. Methods: Trauma casualties treated at a deployed Role 3 hospital were assigned AIS(M) scores by surgeons between 24 September 2012 and 16 October 2012. JTTR records from the same period were retrieved. The AIS(M), Injury Severity Score (ISS), and New Injury Severity Score (NISS) were compared between datasets. Results: Among 32 matched casualties, 214 injuries were recorded in the JTTR, whereas surgeons noted 212. Percentage agreement for number of injuries was 19%. Surgeons scored 75 injuries as "serious" or greater compared with 68 in the JTTR. Percentage agreement for the maximum AIS(M), ISS, and NISS assigned to cases was 66%, 34%, and 28%, respectively, although the distributions of scores were not statistically different (median ISS: surgeons: 20 [interquartile range (IQR), 9-28] versus JTTR: 17.5 [IQR, 9-31.5], ρ = .7; median NISS: surgeons: 27 [IQR, 12-42] versus JTTR: 25.5 [IQR, 11.5-41], ρ = .7). Conclusion: There are discrepancies in the recording of AIS(M) between surgeons directly involved in the care of trauma casualties and trauma nurse coordinators working by retrospective chart review. Increased accuracy might be achieved by actively collaborating in this process.

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