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Singapore's Perspective, Little India Riot: An Impetus to Develop Tactical Medicine Among Medics in Singapore?

Chew D, Hammesfahr R 14(2). 60 - 65 (Journal Article)

This is a report of the first riot in Singapore since 1969 and the subsequent emergency response from the police force and emergency medical services. Lessons learned are discussed, and recommendations for future medical response in incidents of civil unrest are made.

An Observational Study Assessing Completion Time and Accuracy of Completing the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Card by Combat Medic Trainees

Therien SP, Andrews JE, Nesbitt ME, Mabry RL 14(2). 38 - 45 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Prehospital care documentation is crucial to improving battlefield care outcomes. Developed by United States Army Ranger Special Operations Combat Medics (SOCMs), the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) is currently fielded to deployed units to record prehospital injury data. This study documents length of time and accuracy of U.S. Army Combat Medic trainees in completing the minimum preestablished required fields on the TCCC card, establishing a baseline for point-of-injury cards. Design and Methods: This was a prospective observational study in which U.S. Army combat medic trainees were timed while recording data on the TCCC card in both the classroom and simulated combat environment. We hypothesized that trainees could complete the TCCC card in less than 1 minute with 90% or greater accuracy. Results: We enrolled 728 U.S. Army Combat Medic trainees in the study during May-June 2011 at Fort Sam Houston, TX. We observed an average TCCC card completion time of less than 1 minute with greater than 90% accuracy in the unstressed classroom environment but an increase to nearly 2 minutes on average and a decrease to 85% accuracy in the simulated combat environment. Conclusion: Results imply that the TCCC card is well designed to quickly and accurately record prehospital combat injury information. Further investigation and future studies may compare other prehospital data collection methods with the TCCC card in terms of timely and accurate data collection.

Evaluation of Commercially Available Traction Splints for Battlefield Use

Studer NM, Grubb SM, Horn GT, Danielson PD 14(2). 46 - 55 (Journal Article)

Background: Femoral fracture is a common battlefield injury with grave complications if not properly treated. Traction splinting has been proved to decrease morbidity and mortality in battlefield femur fractures. However, little standardization of equipment and training exists within the United States Armed Forces. Currently, four traction splints that have been awarded NATO Stock Numbers are in use: the CT-6 Leg Splint, the Kendrick Traction Device (KTD), the REEL Splint (RS), and the Slishman Traction Splint (STS). Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the differences between the four commercially available traction devices sold to the U.S. Government. Methods: After standardized instruction, subjects were timed and evaluated in the application of each of the four listed splints. Participant confidence and preferences were assessed by using Likert-scaled surveys. Free response remarks were collected before and after timed application. Results: Subjects had significantly different application times on the four devices tested (analysis of variance [ANOVA], ρ < .01). Application time for the STS was faster than that for both the CT-6 (t-test, ρ < .0028) and the RS (ρ < .0001). Subjects also rated the STS highest in all post-testing subjective survey categories and reported significantly higher confidence that the STS would best treat a femoral fracture (ρ < .00229). Conclusions: The STS had the best objective performance during testing and the highest subjective evaluation by participants. Along with its ability to be used in the setting of associated lower extremity amputation or trauma, this splint is the most suitable for battlefield use of the three devices tested.

Warzone Stressor Exposure, Unit Support, and Emotional Distress Among U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen

Armstrong EL, Bryan CJ, Stephenson JA, Bryan AO, Morrow CE 14(2). 26 - 34 (Journal Article)

Objectives: Combat exposure is associated with increased mental health symptom severity among military personnel, whereas unit support is associated with decreased severity. However, to date no studies have examined these relationships among U.S. Air Force pararescuemen (PJs), who have a unique and specialized career field that serves in both medical and combatant capacities. Design: Crosssectional self-report survey. Methods: Self-reported survey data regarding depression symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, perceived unit support, and exposure to traditional combat experiences (e.g., firefights) and medical consequences of combat (e.g., injuries and human remains) were collected from 194 PJs in seven rescue squadrons. Results: Levels of combat exposure were compared with previously published findings from combat units, and levels of medical exposure were compared with previously published findings among military medical professionals. Medical exposure intensity showed a stronger relationship with PTSD severity (ß = .365, p = .018) than with combat exposure intensity (ß = .136, ρ = .373), but neither combat nor medical exposure was associated with depression severity (ßs < .296, ρs > .164). Unit support was associated with less severe PTSD (ß = -.402, ρ < .001) and depression (ß = -.259, ρ = .062) symptoms and did not moderate the effects of combat or medical exposure. Conclusions: Medical stressors contribute more to PTSD among PJs than do traditional combat stressors. Unit support is associated with reduced PTSD and depression severity regardless of intensity of warzone exposure among PJs.

Comparison of Muscle Paralysis After Intravenous and Intraosseous Administration of Succinylcholine in Swine

Loughren MJ, Kilbourn J, Worth K, Burgert J, Gegel B, Johnson D 14(2). 35 - 37 (Journal Article)

Aim: To compare the onset and duration of intravenous (IV) and intraosseous (IO) administration of succinylcholine in swine. Methods: Electromyographic (EMG) amplitudes were used to characterize muscle paralysis following administration of succinylcholine via the IV or IO route in four Yorkshire-cross swine. Results: The onset of action of succinylcholine was statistically longer after IO administration (0.97 ± 0.40) compared with IV administration (0.55 ± 0.26) (ρ = .048). Duration of action was unaffected by route of administration: IO, 11.4 ± 4.2, and IV, 12.9 ± 3.8 (ρ = .65). Conclusions: Succinylcholine can be effectively administered via the IO route. However, an increased dose may be necessary when administering succinylcholine via the IO route to achieve the same rapid onset as standard IV dosing.

Preparedness for Resuscitation at a Geographically Isolated Army Troop Medical Clinic: Lessons From Camp Blanding, Florida

Studer NM, Horsley GW, Godbee DC 14(2). 14 - 19 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Many Servicemembers rely on nondeployed Role 1 facilities, such as troop medical clinics, as their primary source of healthcare. At geographically isolated military installations, these facilities are the "only game in town" for medical care. Servicemembers may present to these facilities with emergent conditions, regardless of designed intent of the facility or the wishes of staff. The U.S. Army Troop Medical Clinic, Camp Blanding is such a facility. Methods: The clinic was reorganized with a 5S approach, streamlining supply, equipment, and workflow processes. This was accomplished to allow the facility to not only improve its general delivery of care but also ensure capability to handle at least one medical or trauma resuscitation. Equipment, disposable supplies, documentation, and staff training were addressed.Results/ Discussion/ Conclusion: Despite facility intention, lack of supplies/equipment, or staff inexperience with emergency care, an acute ill or injured Servicemember must be stabilized at the nondeployed Role 1 facility while awaiting transport to a higher level of care. This expectation is the same as that of deployed Role 1 facilities. A cost-savings can also be realized when minor "emergencies" are handled in-house.

Safety and Effectiveness Evidence of SAM® Junctional Tourniquet to Control Inguinal Hemorrhage in a Perfused Cadaver Model

Johnson JE, Sims K, Hamilton DJ, Kragh JF 14(2). 21 - 25 (Journal Article)

Background: Hemorrhage from the trunk-appendage junctions is a common, preventable cause of death on the battlefield. The recently U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared SAM® Junctional Tourniquet (SJT) was designed to control out-of-hospital inguinal and axillary hemorrhage. The purpose of the present study was to provide safety and effectiveness data associated with use of the SJT. Such data provided support for regulatory clearance. Methods: The SJT was tested in a perfused cadaver experiment simulating inguinal or axillary wound hemorrhage. Results: No safety problems or tissue damage occurred, and flow normalized promptly after tourniquet removal. During SJT use, an average of 107mmHg occluded the distal external iliac artery in an average of 7 seconds of inflation time; manual pressure as a control averaged 139mmHg. In SJT use, an average of 739mmHg occluded the axillary artery in an average of 5 seconds of inflation time; manual pressure as a control averaged 1237mmHg. The control was a referent that achieved results that were similar in one body area but different in the other; both findings indicate the device is as safe as, if not safer than, manual compression. Conclusion: The SJT was shown to be safe and effective in hemorrhage control in a cadaver model for both the axillary and inguinal areas. The SJT's Target Compression Devices required pressures approximately equal to or lower than manual pressure to achieve hemostasis in these junctional regions.

Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet Controls Hemorrhage From a Gunshot Wound of the Left Groin

Croushorn J 14(2). 6 - 8 (Journal Article)

"Junctional hemorrhage" is defined as bleeding from the areas at the junction of the trunk and its appendages. This is an important cause of potentially preventable deaths on the battlefield and a difficult condition to treat in the civilian prehospital setting. Having a solution to definitively treat the condition decreases the mortality and morbidity of these injuries. The Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet™ is (1) a Food and Drug Administration-cleared device that is currently indicated for pelvic, inguinal, and axillary bleeding; (2) the only junctional tourniquet with an indication for pelvic bleeding; (3) the only junctional tourniquet reported with a successful axillary use; and (4) effective at lower tissue pressures than other junctional tourniquets available.

Corneal Foreign Body Management at a Role 1 Flight Line Aid Station

Calvano CJ, Enzenauer RW, Wenkel JW, Henke JL, Rohrbough CK, Miller SL, Howerton PH, Schreffler JP 14(2). 9 - 13 (Journal Article)

Eye injuries are common in forward areas of operations. Definitive diagnosis and care may be limited not by provider skill but rather by available equipment. The ability to treat simple trauma such as corneal foreign bodies at the Role 1 level has advantages including rapid return to duty, decreased cost of treatment, and, most important, decreased risk of delayed care. We propose the device such as a hand-held portable slit lamp should be made available for appropriate Special Operations Medical Forces (SOFMED) or aviation providers.

Giant Basal Cell Carcinoma

Rivard SC, Crandall ML, Gibbs NF 14(1). 99 - 102 (Journal Article)

Servicemembers are often exposed to extreme environments with sun exposure, often laying the foundation for future skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common of skin cancers. We present the case of a 36-year-old male active duty Seabee who presents with a left shoulder plaque that initially started as an erythematous papule but has now increased to greater than 6cm in the past 10 years and is diagnosed as giant basal cell carcinoma (GBCC). Although only 0.5% to 1% of BCCs develop into GBCCs, there is the potential for metastasis and even death. This article addresses the concerning and potentially fatal diagnosis of GBCC, including your initial impressions and differential diagnoses, available treatment options, and ways to prevent it from ever occurring in our military population.

First Case Report of SAM® Junctional Tourniquet Use in Afghanistan to Control Inguinal Hemorrhage on the Battlefield

Klotz JK, Leo M, Andersen BL, Nkodo AA, Garcia G, Wichern AM, Chambers MJ, Gonzalez ON, Pahle MU, Wagner JA, Robinson JB, Kragh JF 14(2). 1 - 5 (Journal Article)

Junctional hemorrhage, bleeding that occurs at the junction of the trunk and its appendages, is the most common preventable cause of death from compressible hemorrhage on the battlefield. As of January 2014, four types of junctional tourniquets have been developed and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Successful use of the Abdominal Aortic Tourniquet (AAT™) and Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC™) has already been reported. We report here the first known prehospital use of the SAM® Junctional Tourniquet (SJT) for a battlefield casualty with inguinal junctional hemorrhage.

Surveillance for Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Dirofilaria immitis in Dogs From Three Cities in Colombia

McCown ME, Monterroso VH, Cardona W 14(1). 86 - 90 (Journal Article)

Objective: Emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases are made up in large proportion by vector-borne diseases (VBD). Dogs are parasitized by disease vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes, making dogs adequate reservoirs for zoonoses. Risk of exposure to VBD exists for the U.S. military personnel and Military Working Dogs (MWD) when deployed globally. The importance of canine VBD surveillance relates to veterinary and public health significance for the host nations as well as for the U.S. troops and MWDs. The objective of this work was to survey dogs from the cities of Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena in Colombia to determine the prevalence of heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis), ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), and anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum). Methods: Canine (n = 498) blood samples (1-3mL) were collected during July 2011 from Medellin (n = 175), Barranquilla (n = 223), and Cartagena (n = 100) and were tested on-site using IDEXX SNAP® 4Dx® Test Kits. Results: The overall combined sample prevalence of E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, D. immitis, and B. burgdorferi was 62%, 33%, 1.6%, and 0%, respectively. In Medellin, 26% of the samples were positive for E. canis, 12% for A. phagocytophilum, and 0% for D. immitis. In Barranquilla, sample prevalence for E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, and D. immitis was 83%, 40%, and 2%, respectively. In Cartagena, E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, and D. immitis prevalence was 80%, 51%, and 3%, respectively. Conclusion: E. canis and A. phagocytophilum are present in all three surveyed cities. There is a higher sample prevalence for E. canis and A. phagocytophilum than for D. immitis. In addition, the prevalence for these organisms is higher in Barranquilla and Cartagena than in Medellin. Overall, this study emphasizes the value of surveillance for VBDs in order to determine disease prevalence, develop risk assessments, and implement control measures.

Preventing Ring Associated Injuries: Think Twice About Wearing That Ring

Levy MJ, Gerold KB 14(1). 93 - 95 (Journal Article)

Salmonella Infections Including Typhoid Disease

Burnett MW 14(1). 96 - 98 (Journal Article)

It is estimated that more than 20 million cases of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi and 6 million cases of paratyphoid disease occur worldwide annually, with typhoid disease alone causing more than 200,000 deaths. The clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment, and vaccination guidelines are discussed.

Operational Stressors on Physical Performance in Special Operators and Countermeasures to Improve Performance: A Review of the Literature

O'Hara R, Henry A, Serres J, Russell D, Locke R 14(1). 67 - 78 (Journal Article)

Objective: Military training in elite warfighters (e.g., U.S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, and U.S. Air Force Battlefield Airmen) is challenging and requires mental and physical capabilities that are akin to that of professional athletes. However, unlike professional athletes, the competitive arena is the battlefield, with winning and losing replaced by either life or death. The rigors of both physical training and prolonged deployments without adequate rest and food intake can compromise physical performance. Therefore, the primary purpose of this effort was to identify occupational stressors on the physical performance of Special Operators during training and while on missions. The secondary purpose was to suggest specific countermeasures to reduce or prevent significant decrements in physical performance and reduce musculoskeletal injuries. Methods: A search of the literature for 2000-2012 was performed using the Air Force Institute of Technology search engines (i.e., PubMed and ProQuest). There were 29 articles located and selected that specifically addressed the primary and secondary purposes of this literature review. The remaining 32 of 61 referenced articles were reviewed after initial review of the primary literature. Conclusions: This review indicates that operational stress (e.g., negative energy balance, high-energy expenditure, sleep deprivation, environmental extremes, heavy load carriage, etc.) associated with rigorous training and sustained operations negatively affects hormonal levels, lean muscle mass, and physical performance of Special Operators. The number of musculoskeletal injuries also increases as a result of these stressors. Commanders may use simple field tests to assess physical decrements before and during deployment to effectively plan for missions. Specific countermeasures for these known decrements are lacking in the scientific literature. Therefore, future researchers should focus on studying specific physical training programs, equipment, and other methods to minimize the effects of operational stress and reduce recovery time. These countermeasures could prevent mission mishaps and may save the lives of Special Operators during severe operational stress.

Effects of Intraosseous and Intravenous Administration of Hextend® on Time of Administration and Hemodynamics in a Swine Model

Johnson D, Dial J, Ard J, Yourk T, Burke E, Paine C, Gegel B, Burgert J 14(1). 79 - 85 (Journal Article)

Introduction: The military recommends that a 500mL bolus of Hextend® be administered via an intravenous (IV) 18-gauge needle or via an intraosseous (IO) needle for patients in hypovolemic shock. Purposes: The purposes of this study were to compare the time of administration of Hextend and the hemodynamics of IV and IO routes in a Class II hemorrhage swine model. Methods: This was an experimental study using 27 swine. After 30% of their blood volume was exsanguinated, 500mL of Hextend was administered IV or IO, but not to the control group. Hemodynamic data were collected every 2 minutes until administration was complete. Results: Time for administration was not significant (p = .78). No significant differences existed between the IO and IV groups relative to hemodynamics (p > .05), but both were significantly different than the control group (p < .05). Conclusions: The IO route is an effective method of administering Hextend.

Evaluation of Contingency Telemedical Support to Improve Casualty Care at a Simulated Military Intermediate Resuscitation Facility: The EM-ANGEL Study

Gerhardt RT, Berry J, Mabry RL, Flournoy L, Arnold RG, Hults C, Robinson JB, Thaxton RA, Cestero R, Heiner JD, Koller AR, Cox KM, Patterson JN, Dalton WR, McKeague AL, Gilbert G, Manemeit C, Adams BD 14(1). 50 - 57 (Journal Article)

Objective: We sought to determine whether Contingency Telemedical Support (CTS) improves the success rate and efficiency of primary care providers performing critical actions during simulated combat trauma resuscitation. Critical actions included advanced airway, chest decompression, extremity hemorrhage control, hypothermia prevention, antibiotics and analgesics, and hypotensive resuscitation, among others. Background: Recent studies report improved survival associated with skilled triage and treatment in the out-of-hospital/preoperative phase of combat casualty care. Historically, ground combat units are assigned primary care physicians and physician assistants as medical staff, due to resource limitations. Although they are recognized as optimal resuscitators, demand for military trauma surgeons and emergency physicians exceeds supply and is unlikely to improve in the near term. Methods: A prospective trial of telemedical mentoring during a casualty resuscitation encounter was studied using a high-fidelity patient simulator (HFPS). Subjects were randomized and formed into experimental (CTS) or control teams. CTS team leaders were equipped with a headset/microphone interface and telementored by a combat-experienced emergency physician or trauma surgeon. A standardized, scripted clinical scenario and HFPS were used with 14 critical actions. At completion, subjects were surveyed. Statistical approach included contingency table analysis, two-tailed t-test, and correlation coefficient. This study was reviewed and approved by our institutional review board (IRB). Results: Eighteen CTS teams and 16 control teams were studied. By intention-to-treat ITT analysis, 89% of CTS teams versus 56% of controls completed all life-threatening inventions (LSIs) (p < .01); 78% versus 19% completed all critical actions (p < .01); and 89% versus 56% established advanced airways within 8 minutes (p < .06). Average time to completion in minutes (95% confidence interval [CI] 95) was 12 minutes (10-14) for CTS versus 18 (16-20) for controls, with 75% of control teams not completing all critical actions. Conclusion: In this model, real-time telementoring of simulated trauma resuscitation was feasible and improved accuracy and efficiency of non-emergency-trained resuscitators. Clinical validation and replicated study of these findings for guiding remote damage control resuscitation are warranted.

Clinical Relevance of Optimizing Vitamin D Status in Soldiers to Enhance Physical and Cognitive Performance

Wentz LM, Eldred JD, Henry MD, Berry-Caban CS 14(1). 58 - 66 (Journal Article)

Vitamin D deficiency initiates a loss of combat effectiveness by impairing physical and cognitive functioning of combat Operators. Synthesized in response to sunlight and consumed in the diet, vitamin D functions as a hormone and regulates gene expression for nearly 300 genes throughout the human body. These target genes are involved processes essential to combat operations, such as immune function, response to stress, inflammation, and regulation of calcium movement. Since widespread vitamin D deficiency is observed across the U.S. population, poor vitamin D status is expected in Servicemembers. Physical conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency include increased risk for muscle or bone injury, muscle weakness, and reduced neuromuscular function. Hormonally, vitamin D levels have been positively correlated with testosterone levels. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with cognitive decline, depression, and may prolong recovery following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Since vitamin D deficiency elevates systemic inflammation, poor vitamin D status at the time of brain injury may prolong the inflammatory response and exacerbate postconcussive symptoms. Furthermore, veterans with mTBI experience chronic endocrine dysfunction. While vitamin D status has not been assessed post-mTBI, it is plausible that vitamin D levels are altered along with testosterone and growth hormone, raising the question of whether vitamin D deficiency results from trauma-related hormonal abnormalities or whether vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for endocrine dysfunction. Through its association with testosterone production, vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since testosterone levels are altered in veterans with PTSD. Therefore, vitamin D status has a significant impact on Operator health and performance. Supplementing vitamin D to deficient Operators provides a noninvasive and low-cost intervention to maintain combat force.

Prehospital Emergency Care: Evaluation of the Junctional Emergency Tourniquet Tool With a Perfused Cadaver Model

Gates K, Baer L, Holcomb JB 14(1). 40 - 44 (Journal Article)

Objective: Junctional bleeding from the groin is a leading cause of potentially preventable death on the battlefield. To address this problem, a novel device called the Junctional Emergency Treatment Tool (JETT™) was developed. The JETT was designed to stabilize pelvic ring fractures while controlling lower extremity bleeding sustained during high-energy traumatic events on the battlefield and in the civilian environment. Our purpose was to assess the effectiveness of the JETT in the control of simulated life threatening hemorrhage from proximal injuries in the groin of a perfused cadaver. Methods: The JETT was compared with the standard issue combat tourniquet and a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared junctional hemorrhage control clamp (CRoC™) in a perfused human cadaver model. The JETT's ability to stop pulsatile flow at the common femoral artery was assessed through proximal aorta and distal measurements of arterial flow rates and pressures. Results: In three cadavers, when the JETT or the CRoC was applied in the groin, there was an immediate cessation of fluid flow from the common femoral artery while the inlet flow aortic pulsatile pressure was maintained. However, the time to bilateral application of the JETT was faster (10 seconds vs. 68 seconds) than bilateral sequential application of two CRoC devices. Conclusions: The JETT is a single device capable of effectively and quickly controlling bilateral lower extremity junctional hemorrhage at normal physiological blood pressures.

The Cric-Key™ and Cric-Knife™: A Combined Tube-Introducer and Scalpel-Hook Open Cricothyrotomy System

Levitan RM 14(1). 45 - 49 (Journal Article)

The author describes a cricothyrotomy system that consists of two devices that, packaged together, are labeled the Control-Cric™ system. The Cric-Key™ was invented to verify tracheal location during surgical airway procedures- without the need for visualization, aspiration of air, or reliance on clinicians' fine motor skills. The Cric-Knife™ combines a scalpel with an overlying sliding hook to facilitate a smooth transition from membrane incision to hook insertion and tracheal control. In a recent test versus a traditional open technique, this system had a higher success rate and was faster to implement.

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