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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)

Foreign Language Short Course: Special Operations Clinical Research Fundamentals

Kemplin KR, Bowling F 17(2). 12 - 17 (Journal Article)

When we do not know a language, we are at the mercy of an interpreter. The same is true for research: Special Operations Forces (SOF) clinicians not actively involved in research initiatives may rely on scientific interpreters, so it is important to speak some of the language personally. For any clinician, using evidence in practice requires a working knowledge of how that evidence was generated from research, which requires an understanding of research science language. Here we review common basics of research science to reinforce concepts and elements of experimental and nonexperimental research.

Assessment of Trainer Skill to Control Groin-Wound Bleeding: Use of Junctional Tourniquet Models on a Manikin

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Shackelford S, Moore VK, Dubick MA 17(2). 39 - 48 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the skills of trainers using different junctional tourniquet models to control groin bleeding in a manikin. Materials and Methods: In 204 assessments, 17 trainers used four junctional tourniquet models three times each to control simulated hemorrhage. The models included the Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC), Junctional Emergency Treatment Tool (JETT), Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet (AAJT), and SAM Junctional Tourniquet (SJT). The criteria of assessment included effectiveness (i.e., control [yes-no]), time to stop bleeding, total blood loss, and bleeding rate. Results: All uses were effective. By model, the results of mean blood loss and time to stop bleeding were different with varying levels of statistical significance: control was worst with the JETT and AAJT, moderate with the AAJT and SJT, and best with the SJT and CRoC. The means sharing a level were not significantly different, but a mean in more than one level was not different from itself. The composite outcome results were 90% good for CRoC and 67% good for JETT, whereas results for the SJT and AAJT were in between, and only the result of the CROC and JETT comparison was significant. The ease of use varied significantly; JETT was more difficult to use and all others were easier. The analysis attributed to the users 19% of the variance of results for time, 44% for blood loss volume, and 67% for bleeding rate. Most users preferred the SJT (53% before and 70% after assessment). Conclusion: Effectiveness was attained by all users with each of the four models of junctional tourniquet. The analysis demonstrated that up to 67% of the variance of performance results could be attributed to the users.

A Prospective Randomized Controlled Two-Arm Clinical Study Evaluating the Efficacy of a Bioelectric Dressing System for Blister Management in US Army Ranger Recruits

Housler GJ, Cross S, Marcel V, Kennedy DO, Husband M, Register A, Roberts T, Grubbs S, Dudewicz D, Setka n, Bay C, Wendelken ME, Izadjoo MJ 17(2). 49 - 58 (Journal Article)

This study focused on a clinically relevant healthcare problem in the military: acute soft tissue wounds, or blisters. The trial was a prospective, controlled, randomized two-arm study evaluating the efficacy of a bioelectric dressing, Procellera®, applied topically two to three times per week for 2 weeks to blisters developed in Ranger trainees during training at Fort Benning, Georgia. A total of 80 US Army Ranger recruits with blister wounds below the knee were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (n = 40/group). The primary goal was to assess the clinical efficacy (rate of healing) of administered Procellera in conjunction with the standard-of-care (SOC) treatment, moleskin and Tegaderm ®, on the healing rate of blisters compared with the SOC treatment alone. The secondary end points for efficacy were the quantities of wound fluid biomarkers and bacterial bioburden. The tertiary end point was assessment of pain in the treatment group compared with that of the control group during the 2-week study. The results showed no statistical difference between the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups in wound healing and pain. Wound fluid was reported for 24 participants (64.9%) in the SOC group and 21 participants (56.8%) in SOC+Procellera group at the baseline measurement (ρ = .475); however, the wounds were devoid of fluid on follow-up visits. The mild nature of the wounds in this study was apparent by the low pain scores at the beginning of the study, which disappeared by the follow-up visits. The average wound sizes were 2.2cm2 and 1.5cm2 for the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups, respectively. This trial protocol should be conducted on open softtissue wounds in severe heat. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical study conducted within the US Army Rangers training doctrine.

Manikin Human-Patient Simulator Training

Horn GT, Bowling F, Lowe DE, Parimore JG, Stagliano DR, Studer NM. 17(2). 89 - 95. (Journal Article)

Background: Human-patient simulators (HPSs) may help enhance medical education. Manikin HPS devices respond to common field medical interventions, such as cricothyroidotomy, and have realistic feedback features, such as respirations and pulses. This study surveys Special Operations Medics for evaluations of HPS features. Methods: Of 518 subjects, 376 completed testing and surveys with valid responses. A total of 102 variables were divided into three categories-general characteristics, procedures, and injuries-and assessed on a fivepoint Likert scale. The Student t test was used to analyze data together and as separate groups against each other and against an aggregated mean. Results: Features that received high scores (i.e., higher than 4.5/5) corresponded closely with pillars of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum, basic life support, and realism. Discussion: US Army Special Operations Command and US Special Operations Command Medics have overall high confidence in manikin HPS devices and specifically in those that align with TCCC training and lifesaving procedures. The skills most valued coincide with difficult-to-practice measures, such as cricothyroidotomy and wound packing. Features such as prerecorded sounds, sex, automated movements, skin color, defibrillation, bowel sounds, and electrocardiogram are rated lower. These evaluations may guide future development or procurement of manikin HPS devices.

Evaluation of XSTAT® and QuickClot® Combat Gauze® in a Swine Model of Lethal Junctional Hemorrhage in Coagulopathic Swine

Cox JM, Rall JM 17(3). 64 - 67 (Journal Article)

Background: Hemorrhage is associated with most potentially survivable deaths on the battlefield. Effective and field-tested products are lacking to treat junctional and noncompressible injuries. XSTAT® is a newly developed, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved product designed to treat junctional hemorrhage. The Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care has recently approved the product for use as part of its treatment guidelines, but data are lacking to assess its efficacy in different wounding patterns and physiologic states. Methods: Dilutional coagulopathy was induced in 19 large (70-90kg), healthy, male swine by replacing 60% of each animal's estimated blood volume with room temperature Hextend ®. After dissection, isolation, and lidocaine incubation, uncontrolled hemorrhage was initiated by transection of both axillary artery and vein. Free bleeding was allowed to proceed for 30 seconds until intervention with either XSTAT or QuickClot® Combat Gauze® (CG) followed by standard backing. Primary outcomes were survival, hemostasis, and blood loss. Results: XSTAT-treated animals achieved hemostasis in less time and remained hemostatic longer than those treated with CG. Less blood was lost during the first 10 minutes after injury in the XSTAT group than the CG group. However, no differences in survival were observed between XSTAT-treated and CG-treated groups. All animals died before the end of the observation period except one in the XSTAT-treated group. Conclusion: XSTAT performed better than CG in this model of junctional hemorrhage in coagulopathic animals. Continued testing and evaluation of XSTAT should be performed to optimize application and determine appropriate indications for use.

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