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Prolonged Field Care Working Group Update

Keenan S 16(2). 105 - 106 (Journal Article)

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Inner Ear Barotrauma After Underwater Pool Competency Training Without the Use of Compressed Air Case and Review

McIntire S, Boujie L 16(2). 52 - 56 (Journal Article)

Inner ear barotrauma can occur when the gas-filled chambers of the ear have difficulty equalizing pressure with the outside environment after changes in ambient pressure. This can transpire even with small pressure changes. Hypobaric or hyperbaric environments can place significant stress on the structures of the middle and inner ear. If methods to equalize pressure between the middle ear and other connected gas-filled spaces (i.e., Valsalva maneuver) are unsuccessful, middle ear overpressurization can occur. This force can be transmitted to the fluid-filled inner ear, making it susceptible to injury. Damage specifically to the structures of the vestibulocochlear system can lead to symptoms of vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. This article discusses the case of a 23-year-old male Marine who presented with symptoms of nausea and gait instability after performing underwater pool competency exercises to a maximum depth of 13 feet, without breathing compressed air. Diagnosis and management of inner ear barotrauma are reviewed, as is differentiation from inner ear decompression sickness.

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Delayed Diagnosis of Pelvic hematoma without Fracture Due to Military Parachuting

Cunningham CW, Kotwal RS, Kragh JF 13(2). 4 - 7 (Case Reports)

The U.S. military has been conducting static-line parachute jumps for nearly a century. Beginning with World War II, military forces have also employed full-scale airborne operations as a method for insertion into combat. Through the years, injuries from blunt trauma as a result of static-line parachute jumps have evolved little with the refinement of equipment, training, and tactics. Parachute jumps continue to invoke primarily musculoskeletal injuries, especially to the lower extremities, back, neck, and head. These injuries are usually straightforward in their presentation and diagnosis. We describe the delayed diagnosis of a pelvic hematoma due to an uncommon blunt trauma jump injury. The purpose of this case report is to increase awareness of injury patterns during paratrooper operations, as well as to review the diagnosis and management of occult hemorrhage. Specific objectives for the readers are to (1) know the common injury types and patterns for airborne operations, (2) know the descent rate of T-10C/D parachutes and factors influencing the rate, (3) recognize signs and symptoms associated with a pelvic hematoma, and (4) recognize common complications resulting from a pelvic hematoma.

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Management of External Hemorrhage in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: The Adjunctive Use of XStat™ Compressed Hemostatic Sponges: TCCC Guidelines Change 15-03

Sims K, Montgomery HR, Dituro P, Kheirabadi BS, Butler FK 16(1). 19 - 28 (Journal Article)

Exsanguination from wounds in the so-called junctional regions of the body (i.e., the neck, the axilla, and the groin) was responsible for 19% of the combat fatalities who died from potentially survivable wounds sustained in Afghanistan or Iraq during 2001 to 2011. The development of improved techniques and technology to manage junctional hemorrhage has been identified in the past as a high-priority item by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) and the Army Surgeon General's Dismounted Complex Blast Injury (DCBI) Task Force. Additionally, prehospital care providers have had limited options with which to manage hemorrhage resulting from deep, narrow-track, penetrating trauma. XStat™ is a new product recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a hemostatic adjunct to aid in the control of bleeding from junctional wounds in the groin or axilla. XStat has now been recommended by the CoTCCC as another tool for the combat medical provider to use in the management of junctional hemorrhage. The evidence that supports adding XStat to the TCCC Guidelines for the treatment of external hemorrhage is summarized in this paper.

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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).

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A Modern Case Series of Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) in an Out-of-Hospital, Combat Casualty Care Setting

Manley JD, Mitchell BJ, DuBose JJ, Rasmussen TE 17(1). 1 - 8 (Case Reports)

Background: Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is used to mitigate bleeding and sustain central aortic pressure in the setting of shock. The ER-REBOA™ catheter is a new REBOA technology, previously reported only in the setting of civilian trauma and injury care. The use of REBOA in an out-of-hospital setting has not been reported, to our knowledge. Methods: We present a case series of wartime injured patients cared for by a US Air Force Special Operations Surgical Team at an austere location fewer than 3km (5-10 minutes' transport) from point of injury and 2 hours from the next highest environment of care-a Role 2 equivalent. Results: In a 2-month period, four patients presented with torso gunshot or fragmentation wounds, hemoperitoneum, and class IV shock. Hand-held ultrasound was used to diagnose hemoperitoneum and facilitate 7Fr femoral sheath access. ER-REBOA balloons were positioned and inflated in the aorta (zone 1 [n = 3] and zone 3 [n = 1]) without radiography. In all cases, REBOA resulted in immediate normalization of blood pressure and allowed induction of anesthesia, initiation of whole-blood transfusion, damage control laparotomy, and attainment of surgical hemostasis (range of inflation time, 18-65 minutes). There were no access- or REBOArelated complications and all patients survived to achieve transport to the next echelon of care in stable condition. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first series to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of REBOA in modern combat casualty care and the first to describe use of the ER-REBOA catheter. Use of this device by nonsurgeons and surgeons not specially trained in vascular surgery in the out-of-hospital setting is useful as a stabilizing and damage control adjunct, allowing time for resuscitation, laparotomy, and surgical hemostasis.

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Physical Therapy Treatment Of Chronic Neck Pain A Discussion And Case Study: Using Dry Needling And Battlefield Acupuncture

Guthrie RM, Chorba R 16(1). 1 - 5 (Case Reports)

Purpose: Chronic mechanical neck pain can have a complex clinical presentation and is often difficult to treat. This case study illustrates a successful physical therapy treatment approach using dry needling and auricular acupuncture techniques. Case Report: A 51-year-old active-duty, male US Marine was treated by a physical therapist in a direct-access military clinic for chronic neck pain poorly responsive to previous physical therapy, pharmacologic, and surgical interventions. Needling techniques were combined with standard physical therapy interventions to address the comprehensive needs of the patient. Within five treatments, the patient reported reduced pain levels from 8-9/10 to 0-2/10, improved sleep quality, and increased function with daily activities. Over several months, the patient reduced multiple medication use by greater than 85%. The effects of treatment were lasting, and the patient accomplished a successful transition to an independent maintenance program. Conclusion: Needling techniques have the potential to expedite favorable physical therapy outcomes for active-duty service members suffering from chronic mechanical and degenerative neck pain. The dramatic improvements observed in this case warrant additional exploration of treatment efficacy and delineation of best practices in the delivery of these techniques.

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No Shit, There I Was: The Case for Narrative-Based Clinical Knowledge

Froede K 11(4). 21 - 24 (Journal Article)

Relevant literature demonstrates the absolute necessity of Special Operations Forces (SOF) clinical narratives to the medics they teach and care they deliver, and discusses the concept of narrative pedagogy via review of extant literature and also SOF-specific clinical literature. SOF clinicians (medics, physicians' assistants, physicians, etc.) provide advanced trauma, clinical, and preventive care in the most austere of combat environments. SOF clinicians have adopted specific paradigms for schooling, teaching, learning, and practice. An overarching theme within SOF-generated clinical literature is that of hermeneutics and the narrative pedagogy; SOF clinicians generate their evidence from experience and frequently tell stories to educate their peers, colleagues, and student medics to increase the knowledge of the entire community.

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Evaluation of Two Junctional Tourniquets Used on the Battlefield: Combat Ready Clamp® versus SAM® Junctional Tourniquet

Meusnier J, Dewar C, Mavrovi E, Caremil F, Wey P, Martinez J 16(3). 41 - 46 (Journal Article)

Background: Junctional hemorrhage (i.e., between the trunk and limbs) are too proximal for a tourniquet and difficult to compress. These hemorrhages are responsible for 20% of preventable deaths by bleeding on the battlefield. The majority of these involve the groin area. Devices allowing a proximal compression for arterial axes have been recently developed. Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the use of two junctional- tourniquet models, the Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC®) and the SAM® Junctional Tourniquet (SJT), in simulated out-of-hospital trauma care when tourniquets were ineffective to stop the arterial flow. Methods: During our clinical study, 84 healthy volunteers wearing battle dress performed a physical exercise to come approximate the operational context. The volunteers were randomly divided into two groups according to the device (the CRoC or SJT) used as supplement to a tourniquet self-applied to the root of the thigh. The primary study end point was the complete interruption of popliteal arterial flow, measured with Doppler auscultation. Time to effectiveness and subjective questionnaire data to evaluate the devices' application were also collected. Results: Junctional device effectiveness was almost 90% for both the CRoC and the SJT, and did not differ between them, either used with a tourniquet (ρ = .36) or alone (ρ = .71). The time to effectiveness of the SJT was significantly shorter than that of the CRoC (ρ = .029). Conclusion: The SJT and the CRoC were equally effective. The SJT was faster to apply and preferred by the users. Our study provides objective evidence to the French Tactical Casualty Care Committee for improving junctional hemorrhage treatment.

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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Shishido AA, Letizia A 15(4). 99 - 101 (Journal Article)

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) emerged in the Arabian Peninsula in 2012, and subsequently spread to other countries in Europe and Asia, and to the United States. As of August 2015, the disease has infected 1,400 patients, of whom 500 have died, yielding a 36% mortality rate. The exact mode of transmission is unknown and there are no proven treatments. While the overall case rate for MERS has been low, its presence in countries that house US troops, unknown mode of transmission, and high mortality rate make it a significant health concern among US military personnel.

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Endovascular Resuscitation Techniques for Severe Hemorrhagic Shock and Traumatic Arrest in the Presurgical Setting

True NA, Siler S, Manning JE 13(2). 33 - 37 (Journal Article)

Novel aortic catheter-based resuscitation interventions aimed at control of noncompressible torso hemorrhage and resuscitative perfusion are undergoing active research and development. These methods have been reported as resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta, selective aortic arch perfusion, and profound hypothermia (emergency preservation and resuscitation). These interventions are advanced options to treat noncompressible torso hemorrhage and hemorrhage-induced traumatic cardiac arrest in the presurgical environment. However, to achieve maximum potential benefit, such interventions need to be initiated as soon as possible. This means that these advanced interventions should be adapted for use in austere military treatment facilities and, when feasible, initiated at the point of injury. This report argues for the feasibility of advanced endovascular resuscitation interventions in the austere military theater.

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Salmon Thrombin-Fibrinogen Dressing Allows Greater Survival and Preserves Distal Blood Flow Compared to Standard Kaolin Gauze in Coagulopathic Swine with a Standardized Lethal Femoral Artery Injury

Floyd CT, Rothwell SW, Risdahl J, Martin R, Olson CE, Rose N 12(2). 16 - 26 (Journal Article)

We have previously shown that lyophilized salmon thrombin and fibrinogen (STF) embedded in a dissolvable dextran dressing is as efficacious as Combat Gauze™ (CG) with regard to controlling hemorrhage and survival in non-coagulopathic swine with femoral artery lacerations. A major limitation of currently available advanced field dressings is the inability to control hemorrhage in coagulopathic casualties because of the exhaustion of host coagulation proteins. We tested the hypothesis that the STF dressing would be better able to control hemorrhage and prolong survival in coagulopathic swine compared to CG. Survival rate was 50% in CG-treated animals versus 90% in STF-treated animals. Survival time was significantly greater in STF-treated animals. Clots formed over the arterial injury in 100% of STF-treated animals compared to 0% in CG-treated animals (ρ < 0.001). STF-treated animals consumed less host coagulation factors, including platelets (ρ = 0.03). Survival after limb manipulation that simulated casualty evacuation was significantly higher with the STF dressing (ρ < 0.005). Angiographic observation of distal blood flow was seen twice as often with the STF dressing as with CG. The STF dressing allows a high survival rate, significantly greater survival time, and a significantly more stable dressing than CG in coagulopathic swine. The clot formed by the STF dressing also enables restoration of distal blood flow to the limb potentially resulting in higher limb salvage.

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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.

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Lesions Arising in a Tattoo of an Active Duty US Marine Corps Woman

Winn AE, Rivard SC, Green B 16(2). 96 - 100 (Journal Article)

Tattoos are ubiquitous in modern society; however, they do not come without risk of medical complications. When complications arise in the military community, a particularly thorough differential diagnosis should be considered based on the increased exposures service members have during deployment and throughout their military career. We present a case of a 38-year-old active duty US Marine Corps woman with worsening skin lesions arising within a tattoo 6 weeks after acquiring the tattoo on her right chest. Given environmental exposures from a recent deployment to the Middle East, a wide differential was considered. Ultimately, a skin biopsy revealed early hypertrophic scar formation responsive to therapy with intralesional triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog® [ILK]). However, given the Marine had recently deployed and is part of the active duty population, consideration of alternative, albeit rare, etiologies was imperative.

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An Evaluation of Common Cleaning Methods for the Removal of a Clinical Isolate of Escherichia coli in Personal Hydration System Water Reservoirs

Helmus S, Blythe J, Guevara P, Washington MA 16(2). 101 - 104 (Journal Article)

Waterborne infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Personal hydration packs have been used by military personnel since the Gulf War and are now a common issue item. Since military personnel tend to operate under austere conditions and may use a variety of water sources, preventing the acquisition of waterborne infections is extremely important. Further, since hydration pack water reservoir replacements may not be available during combat operations, the development of a reliable cleaning protocol for use in the field is essential. Several methods for cleaning have been described. In the current study, three common cleaning methodologies-bleach treatment, baking soda treatment, and proprietary CAMELBAK Cleaning Tabs™-were evaluated for the ability to remove Escherichia coli contamination from hydration pack water reservoirs. The study results suggest that the use of bleach and proprietary CAMELBAK tablets should be encouraged since they both operate by releasing bactericidal chlorine compounds into solution, which is more effective at reducing post-treatment bacterial burden. It should be noted that no method was 100% effective at completely eliminating bacteria from the reservoirs and that mechanical cleaning was not attempted.

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Graduate Medical Education in Tactical Medicine and the Impact of ACGME Accreditation of EMS Fellowships

Tang N, Levy MJ, Margolis AM, Woltman N 17(1). 101 - 104 (Journal Article)

Physician interest in tactical medicine as an area of professional practice has grown significantly over the past decade. The prevalence of physician involvement in terms of medical oversight and operational support of civilian tactical medicine has experienced tremendous growth during this timeframe. Factors contributing to this trend are multifactorial and include enhanced law enforcement agency understanding of the role of the tactical physician, support for the engagement of qualified medical oversight, increasing numbers of physicians formally trained in tactical medicine, and the ongoing escalation of intentional mass-casualty incidents worldwide. Continued vigilance for the sustenance of adequate and appropriate graduate medical education resources for physicians seeking training in the comprehensive aspects of tactical medicine is essential to ensure continued advancement of the quality of casualty care in the civilian high-threat environment.

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Special Forces Medical Sergeants' Perceptions and Beliefs Regarding Their Current Medical Sustainment Program: Implications for the Field

Wilson RL, DeZee KJ 14(4). 59 - 69 (Journal Article)

Background: Special Forces Medical Sergeants (SFMS) are trained to provide trauma and medical care in support of military operations and diplomatic missions throughout the world with indirect physician oversight. This study assessed their perceptions of the current program designed to sustain their medical skills. Methods: An Internet-based survey was developed using the constructs of the Theory of Reasoned Action/Planned Behavior and validated through survey best practices. Results: Of the 334 respondents, 92.8% had deployed at least once as an SFMS. Respondents reported spending 4 hours per week sustaining their medical skills and were highly confident that they could perform their duties on a no-notice deployment. On a 5-point, Likerttype response scale, SFMS felt that only slight change is needed to the Special Operations Medical Skills Sustainment Course (mean: 2.17; standard deviation [SD]: 1.05), while moderate change is needed to the Medical Proficiency Training (mean: 2.82; SD: 1.21) and nontrauma modules (mean: 3.02; SD: 1.22). Respondents desire a medical sustainment program that is provided by subject matter experts, involves actual patient care, incorporates new technology, uses hands-on simulation, and is always available. Conclusions: SFMS are challenged to sustain their medical skills in the current operational environment, and barriers to medical training should be minimized to facilitate sustainment training. Changes to the current medical sustainment program should incorporate operator-level perspectives to ensure acceptability and utility but must be balanced with organizational realities. Improving the medical sustainment program will prepare SFMS for the challenges of future missions.

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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.

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Early, Prehospital Activation of the Walking Blood Bank Based on Mechanism of Injury Improves Time to Fresh Whole Blood Transfusion

Bassett AK, Auten JD, Zieber TJ, Lunceford NL 16(2). 5 - 8 (Journal Article)

Balanced component therapy (BCT) remains the mainstay in trauma resuscitation of the critically battle injured. In austere medical environments, access to packed red blood cells, apheresis platelets, and fresh frozen plasma is often limited. Transfusion of warm, fresh whole blood (FWB) has been used to augment limited access to full BCT in these settings. The main limitation of FWB is that it is not readily available for transfusion on casualty arrival. This small case series evaluates the impact early, mechanism-of-injury (MOI)-based, preactivation of the walking blood bank has on time to transfusion. We report an average time of 18 minutes to FWB transfusion from patient arrival. Early activation of the walking blood bank based on prehospital MOI may further reduce the time to FWB transfusion.

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Biofeedback Self-Regulation Training to Treat Post-Concussion Headache in a Special Operations Support Soldier

Jenkins CM 12(4). 24 - 27 (Journal Article)

Biofeedback assisted self-regulation training can be an effective treatment for post-concussion headaches. The following is an example of using biofeedback assisted self-regulation training as an intervention to treat posttrauma headaches in a Special Operations Forces (SOF) support soldier. This Soldier was a 23-year-old male who had suffered a concussion while off duty four months earlier and continued to experience headache. Threemodality biofeedback (temperature, surface electromyogram and skin conduction) was used to help the patient learn to self-regulate and control his headaches. This was accomplished over four visits over two weeks. This was a compressed timeline to allow him to deploy with his unit. This form of treatment can be a viable nonmedication based option for addressing post concussion headaches for deploying Soldiers.

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