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The SOF Truths for Army Special Operations Forces Surgical Teams

Baker JB, Modlin RE, Ong RC, Remick KN 17(4). 52 - 55 (Journal Article)

The US Army Special Operations Command and Army Medical Command are at a critical junction in Army medical training. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will receive Forward Resuscitative Surgical Teams (FRSTs) in the near future and must establish a training model to enable successful support for ARSOF operations. The military has been directed by Congress through the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to embed trauma combat casualty care teams in civilian trauma centers. ARSOF FRSTs should be embedded in the nation's leading civilian trauma centers to build and sustain true expertise in delivering trauma care on the battlefield. The SOF Truths provide valuable insights into the required conditions for success of this new training paradigm.

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Humanitarian Surgical Missions: Guidelines for Successful Anesthesia Support

Fitzgerald BM, Nagy CJ, Goosman EF, Gummerson MC, Wilson JE 17(4). 56 - 62 (Journal Article)

Many anesthesiologists and CRNAs are provided little training in preparing for a humanitarian surgical mission. Furthermore, there is very little published literature that outlines how to plan and prepare for anesthesia support of a humanitarian surgical mission. This article attempts to serve as an in-depth planning guide for anesthesia support of humanitarian surgical missions. Recommendations are provided on planning requirements that most anesthesiologists and CRNAs do not have to consider on routinely, such as key questions to be answered before agreeing to support a mission, ordering and shipping supplies and medications, travel and lodging arrangements, and coordinating translators in a host nation. Detailed considerations are included for all the phases of mission planning: advanced, mission-specific, final, mission-execution, and postmission follow-up planning, as well as a timeline in which to complete each phase. With the proper planning and execution, the anesthetic support of humanitarian surgical missions is a very manageable task that can result in an extremely satisfying sense of accomplishment and a rewarding experience. The authors suggest this article should be used as a reference document by any anesthesia professional tasked with planning and supporting a humanitarian surgical mission.

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Advise and Assist: A Basic Medical Skills Course for Partner Forces

April MD, Lopes T, Schauer SG, Meneses M, Roszenweig H, Byram D, Timms-Williams Z, Shields TP, Cross AN, Hoffmann LJ 17(4). 63 - 67 (Journal Article)

Background: Training partner forces in battlefield first-responder medical skills is an important component of US military advise-and-assist operations. We designed and executed a training curriculum focused on high-yield-based medical skills to prevent death on the battlefield for non-English speaking members of the Turkish, Azerbaijani, and Albanian militaries deployed to Afghanistan. Methods: We designed a 2-hour training curriculum focusing on four basic medical skills: (1) assessment of scene safety; (2) limb tourniquet application; (3) wound bandaging; and (4) patient transportation via litter. Our combat medics delivered standardized training using both didactic and practicum components. Instructors made beforeand- after assessments of the proficiency of each participant for each skill in accordance with the Dreyfus model of skill acquisition. We also administered before-and-after, Likertscale- based surveys for training participants to report their self-assessed comfort level with each of the four skills. Results: We delivered training to 187 participants over five classes. All 28 participants in the final teaching class completed the study. Instructors categorized each participant's skill level as novice before training for all four skills. After the training curriculum, all participants achieved a skill level consistent with advanced beginner for all four skills. Participants reported significant improvements in self-reported comfort levels for all taught procedures (ρ < .001 by Wilcoxon signed-rank test for all four skills). The largest reported increase in median comfort level was for tourniquet application: median pretraining comfort level, 4 (interquartile range [IQR], 0-6.25) versus 9.5 (IQR, 9-10) posttraining. Conclusion: Our curriculum resulted in significant improvements in instructor-assessed proficiency and self-reported comfort level for all four basic medical skills. Although our outcome measures have important limitations, this curriculum may be useful framework for future medics and physicians designing battlefield first-responder training curricula for members of foreign militaries.

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Female Genital Mutilation as a Concern for Special Operations and Tactical Emergency Medical Support Medics

Wittich AC 17(4). 14 - 17 (Journal Article)

Female genital mutilation (FGM), frequently called female genital cutting or female circumcision, is the intentional disfigurement of the external genitalia in young girls and women for the purpose of reducing libido and ensuring premarital virginity. This traditional, nontherapeutic procedure to suppress libido and prevent sexual intercourse before marriage has been pervasive in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian peninsula for over 2,500 years. FGM permanently destroys the genital anatomy while frequently causing multiple and serious complications. The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics proposed a classification system of FGM according to the specific genital anatomy removed and the extensiveness of genital disfigurement. Although it has been ruled illegal in most countries, FGM continues to be performed worldwide. With African, Asian, and Middle Eastern immigration to the United States and Europe, western countries are experiencing FGM in regions where these immigrants have concentrated. As deployments of Special Operations Forces (SOF) increase to regions in which FGM is pervasive, and as African, Asian, and Middle Eastern immigration to the United States increases, SOF and Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) medics will necessarily be called upon to evaluate and treat complications resulting from FGM. The purpose of this article is to educate SOF/TEMS medical personnel about the history, geographic regions, classification of procedures, complications, and medical treatment of patients with FGM.

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Extraglottic Airways in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 17-01 28 August 2017

Otten EJ, Montgomery HR, Butler FK 17(4). 19 - 28 (Journal Article)

Extraglottic airway (EGA) devices have been used by both physicians and prehospital providers for several decades. The original TCCC Guidelines published in 1996 included a recommendation to use the laryngeal mask airway (LMA) as an option to assist in securing the airway in Tactical Evacuation (TACEVAC) phase of care. Since then, a variety of EGAs have been used in both combat casualty care and civilian trauma care. In 2012, the Committee on TCCC (CoTCCC) and the Defense Health Board (DHB) reaffirmed support for the use of supraglottic airway (SGA) devices in the TACEVAC phase of TCCC, but did not recommend a specific SGA based on the evidence available at that point in time. This paper will use the more inclusive term "extraglottic airway" instead of the term "supragottic airway" used in the DHB memo. Current evidence suggests that the i-gel® (Intersurgical Complete Respiratory Systems; http://www.intersurgical.com/info/igel) EGA performs as well or better than the other EGAs available and has other advantages in ease of training, size and weight, cost, safety, and simplicity of use. The gel-filled cuff in the i-gel both eliminates the need for cuff pressure monitoring during flight and reduces the risk of pressure-induced neuropraxia to cranial nerves in the oropharynx and hypopharynx as a complication of EGA use. The i-gel thus makes the medic's tasks simpler and frees him or her from the requirement to carry a cuff manometer as part of the medical kit. This latest change to the TCCC Guidelines as described below does the following things: (1) adds extraglottic airways (EGAs) as an option for airway management in Tactical Field Care; (2) recommends the i-gel as the preferred EGA in TCCC because its gel-filled cuff makes it simpler to use than EGAs with air-filled cuffs and also eliminates the need for monitoring of cuff pressure; (3) notes that should an EGA with an air-filled cuff be used, the pressure in the cuff must be monitored, especially during and after changes in altitude during casualty transport; (4) emphasizes COL Bob Mabry's often-made point that extraglottic airways will not be tolerated by a casualty unless he or she is deeply unconscious and notes that an NPA is a better option if there is doubt about whether or not the casualty will tolerate an EGA; (5) adds the use of suction as an adjunct to airway management when available and appropriate (i.e., when needed to remove blood and vomitus); (6) clarifies the wording regarding cervical spine stabilization to emphasize that it is not needed for casualties who have sustained only penetrating trauma (without blunt force trauma); (7) reinforces that surgical cricothyroidotomies should not be performed simply because a casualty is unconscious; (8) provides a reminder that, for casualties with facial trauma or facial burns with suspected inhalation injury, neither NPAs nor EGAs may be adequate for airway management, and a surgical cricothyroidotomy may be required; (9) adds that pulse oximetry monitoring is a useful adjunct to assess airway patency and that capnography should also be used in the TACEVAC phase of care; and (10) reinforces that a casualty's airway status may change over time and that he or she should be frequently reassessed.

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Assessment of User, Glove, and Device Effects on Performance of Tourniquet Use in Simulated First Aid

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Lambert CD, Moore VK, Dubick MA 17(4). 29 - 36 (Journal Article)

Background: The effects of users, glove types, and tourniquet devices on the performance of limb tourniquet use in simulated first aid were measured. Materials and Methods: Four users conducted 180 tests of tourniquet performance in eight glove groups compared with bare hands as a control. Results: Among tests, 99% (n = 179) had favorable results for each of the following: effectiveness (i.e., bleeding control), distal pulse stoppage, and tourniquet placement at the correct site. However, only 90% of tests ended with a satisfactory result, which is a composite outcome of aggregated metrics if all (patient status is stable, tourniquet placement is good, and pressure is good) are satisfactory. Of 18 unsatisfactory results, 17 (94%) were due to pressure problems. Most of the variance of the majority of continuous metrics (time to determination of bleeding control, trial time, overall time, pressure, and blood loss) could be attributed to the users (62%, 55%, 61%, 8%, and 68%, respectively). Glove effects impaired and slowed performance; three groups (cold gloves layered under mittens, mittens, and cold gloves) consistently had significant effects and five groups (examination gloves, flight gloves, leather gloves, glove liners, and glove liners layered under leather gloves) did not. For time to bleeding control and blood loss, performance using these same three glove groups had worse results compared with bare hands by 26, 18, and 17 seconds and by 188, 116, and 124mL, respectively. Device effects occurred only with continuous metrics and were often dominated by user effects. Conclusion: In simulated first aid with tourniquets used to control bleeding, users had major effects on most performance metrics. Glove effects were significant for three of eight glove types. Tourniquet device effects occurred only with continuous metrics and were often dominated by user effects.

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Effects of Distance Between Paired Tourniquets

Wall PL, Buising CM, Nelms D, Grulke L, Renner CH, Sahr SM 17(4). 37 - 44 (Journal Article)

Background: In practice, the distance between paired tourniquets varies with unknown effects. Methods: Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets were applied to both thighs of 15 subjects distally (fixed location) and proximally (0, 2, 4, 8, 12cm gap widths, randomized block). Applications were pair, single distal, single appropriate proximal. Tightening ended one-ratchet tooth advance past Doppler-indicated occlusion. Pairs had alternating tightening starting distal. Results: Occlusion pressures were higher for: each single than respective individual pair tourniquet, each pair distal than respective pair proximal, and each single distal than respective single proximal (all p < .0001). Despite thigh circumference increasing proximally, occlusion pressures were lower with proximal tourniquet involvement (pair or single, p < .0001). Occlusion losses before 120 seconds occurred most frequently with pairs (0cm 4, 2cm 4, 4cm 6, 8cm 7, 12cm 5 for 26 of 150), in increasing frequency with increasingly proximal singles (0cm 0, 2cm 1, 4cm 1, 8cm 2, 12cm 6 for 10 of 150, p < .0001 for trend), and least with single distal (2 of 150, p < .0001). Paired tourniquets required fewer ratchet advances per tourniquet (pair distal 5 ± 1, pair proximal 4 ± 1, single distal 6 ± 1, single proximal 6 ± 1). Final ratchet tooth advancement pressure increases (mmHg) were greatest for singles (distal 61 ± 10, proximal 0cm 53 ± 7, 2cm 51 ± 9, 4cm 50 ± 7, 8cm 45 ± 7, 12cm 36 ± 7) and least in pairs (distal 41 ± 8, proximal 32 ± 7) with progressively less pair interaction as distance increased (pressure change for the pair tourniquet not directly advanced: 0cm 13 ± 4, 2cm 10 ± 4, 4cm 6 ± 3, 8cm 1 ± 2, 12cm -1 ± 2). Conclusions: Occlusion pressures are lower for paired than single tourniquets despite variable intertourniquet distances. Very proximal placement has a pressure advantage; however, pairs and very proximal locations may be less likely to maintain occlusion. Increasingly proximal placements also increase tissue at risk; therefore, distal placements and minimal intertourniquet distances should still be recommended.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Management in Prolonged Field Care

van Wyck D, Loos PE, Friedline N, Stephens D, Smedick BC, McCafferty R, Rush SC, Keenan S, Powell D, Shackelford S 17(3). 130 - 140 (Journal Article)

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Teleconsultation in Prolonged Field Care Position Paper

Vasios WN, Pamplin JC, Powell D, Loos PE, Riesberg J, Keenan S 17(3). 141 - 144 (Journal Article)

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To Cut or Not to Cut: That Is an Ultrasound Question!

Poston WH, Hampton K 17(3). 145 (Journal Article)

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Remote Dental Surgery as a Medical Civilian Assistance Program (MEDCAP): Helping Iraqi, Kurdish, and U.S. Forces Win Hearts and Minds in the Fight Against Daesh

Ferreira B 17(3). 148 - 150 (Journal Article)

Dr Ferreira discusses the work of the Humanitarian Aid and Security Forces (HASF) in providing volunteer dental services to a local Christian militia in Mosul, Iraq.

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Hepatitis E

Burnett MW 17(3). 114 - 115 (Journal Article)

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Tools to Assess and Reduce Injury Risk (Part 1)

Knapik JJ 17(3). 116 - 119 (Journal Article)

Many injuries are preventable. Useful tools are available that can aid in assessing injury risks and developing methods to reduce these risks. This is part 1 of a two-part article that will discuss these tools, which include the Haddon Matrix, the 10 Countermeasure Strategies, the Injury Control Process, and the Army Risk-Management Process. The Haddon Matrix is 3 ® 3 table that, across the top (columns), provides an approach to conceptualizing injury prevention and control through modifications of the human, equipment, and environment; and, across rows, thinking about injury prevention and control before, during, and after the injury-producing event. The basic premise of the 10 Countermeasure Strategies is that injuries are largely due to energy exchanges between a person and the external environment in such a way that body cannot properly avoid or absorb the energy and anatomic structures are damaged. The Countermeasure Strategies are (1) eliminating the hazard altogether, (2) reducing the amount of the hazard, (3) preventing release of the hazard, (4) modifying the rate or spatial distribution of the hazard, (5) separating in space or time the hazard and the individual, (6) separating the individual from the hazard using a barrier, (7) modifying the basic qualities of the hazard, (8) strengthening the individual to make them more resistant to damage, (9) countering the damage done, and (10) stabilizing, healing, and rehabilitating the individual. Part 2 of this series will discuss the injury control process and the Army risk management process.

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Carfentanil: A New and Often Unrecognized Threat

Cowles CE, Mitchell J, Stepp JE, Bewley VZ 17(3). 120 - 122 (Journal Article)

Law enforcement officers, whether working the streets or on narcotic detail, and even those who operate in strike teams, face a new danger from an old drug: carfentanil. Drug dealers seeking to increase profits cut this cheap synthetic drug into expensive heroin, providing an extreme high. As a potent synthetic opioid narcotic, it is finding its way to the streets of the United States and can pose a threat to life for law enforcement, first responders, and medical examiners.

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An Outbreak Investigation Report and Lessons Learned by Multinational Coalition Forces: October 2016, Baghdad, Iraq

Gorzelnik SA, Kephart LN, Miklos WE 17(3). 123 - 129 (Journal Article)

Background: Public health personnel from the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, conducted an outbreak investigation in response to many local cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illness presenting to U.S. medical facilities. The investigation was conducted to identify the source of the illness, assess the extent of cases, and make recommendations to prevent similar outbreaks. Methods and Materials: For this retrospective cohort study, medical records and patient outbreak questionnaires were reviewed. A patient case, relative to the outbreak, was defined as any person who had developed a GI illness and presented for medical evaluation to either sick call or an emergency service at a diplomatic or military medical facility in Baghdad from 30 September to 12 October 2016. Results: A total of 123 people met the case definition. The most common presenting symptom was diarrhea (91% to 96% of cases). Other symptoms included abdominal cramps, fatigue, and headache. Most cases were military personnel (n =100). Salad was significantly associated with GI illness (70% of respondents). Five salad ingredients had significantly elevated levels of Escherichia coli. Conclusion: Mitigation strategies to reduce the probability of similar outbreaks include purchasing food solely from approved vendors or thoroughly cooking all foods, including fruits and vegetables.

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Atropine Eye Drops: A Proposed Field Expedient Substitute in the Absence of Atropine Autoinjectors

Calvano CJ, Enzenauer RW, Eisnor DL, Mazzoli RA 17(3). 81 - 83 (Journal Article)

Nerve agents are a threat to military and civilian health. The antidote, atropine sulfate, is delivered by autoinjector, which is a limited resource. We propose the use of 1% atropine ophthalmic solution (supplied commercially in 5mL or 15 mL bottles) via oral, ocular, and intranasal administration as an expedient substitute in austere environments.

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Chest Seal Placement for Penetrating Chest Wounds by Prehospital Ground Forces in Afghanistan

Schauer SG, April MD, Naylor JF, Simon EM, Fisher AD, Cunningham CW, Morissette DM, Fernandez JD, Ryan KL 17(3). 85 - 89 (Journal Article)

Background: Thoracic trauma represents 5% of all battlefield injuries. Communicating pneumothoraces resulting in tension physiology remain an important etiology of prehospital mortality. In addressing penetrating chest trauma, current Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines advocate the immediate placement of a vented chest seal device. Although the Committee on TCCC (CoTCCC) has approved numerous chest seal devices for battlefield use, few data exist regarding their use in a combat zone setting. Objective: To evaluate adherence to TCCC guidelines for chest seal placement among personnel deployed to Afghanistan. Methods: We obtained data from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR). Joint Trauma System personnel linked patients to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry, when available, for outcome data upon reaching a fixed facility. Results: In the PHTR, we identified 62 patients with documented gunshot wound (GSW) or puncture wound trauma to the chest. The majority (74.2%; n = 46) of these were due to GSW, with the remainder either explosive-based puncture wounds (22.6%; n = 14) or a combination of GSW and explosive (3.2%; n = 2). Of the 62 casualties with documented GSW or puncture wounds, 46 (74.2%) underwent chest seal placement. Higher proportions of patients with medical officers in their chain of care underwent chest seal placement than those that did not (63.0% versus 37.0%). The majority of chest seals placed were not vented. Conclusion: Of patients with a GSW or puncture wound to the chest, 74.2% underwent chest seal placement. Most of the chest seals placed were not vented in accordance with guidelines, despite the guideline update midway through the study period. These data suggest the need to improve predeployment training on TCCC guidelines and matching of the Army logistical supply chain to the devices recommended by the CoTCCC.

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No Ordinary Sleeper Cell: Managing the Varied Problems of Plasmodium vivax Malaria

Jarvis J 17(3). 90 - 94 (Journal Article)

Plasmodium vivax malaria is an essential yet elusive target of tropical disease eradication efforts, and is the focus of this literature review. This review will reacquaint Special Operations Forces (SOF) Medics with the basic principles of malaria as context for understanding the several confounding issues particular to P. vivax infections. The review concludes with current malaria guidelines and malaria mitigation strategies.

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Humanitarian Struggle in Burma's Conflict Zones

Gyo M 17(3). 95 - 99 (Journal Article)

The Back Pack Health Worker Team (BPHWT), a community- based health organization, provides primary health care to ethnic people in conflict, remote, and internally displaced areas, in Burma (aka Myanmar), controlled by ethnic armed organizations fighting against the Burma government. Its services include both curative and preventative health care through a network of 1,425 health personnel including community health workers and village-embedded traditional birth attendants and village health workers. The BPHWT organizational and program model may prove useful to Special Operations medical actions in support of insurgent movements and conversely with a host nation's counterinsurgency strategies, which include the extension of its health services into areas that may be remote and/or inhabited by indigenous people and have insurgency potential. In the former respect, special attention is directed toward "humanitarian struggle" that uses health care as a weapon against the counterinsurgency strategies of a country's oppressive military.

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A Shift From Resilience to Human Performance Optimization in Special Operations Training: Advancements in Theory and Practice

Park GH, Messina LA, Deuster PA 17(3). 109 - 113 (Journal Article)

Within the Department of Defense over the past decade, a focus on enhancing Warfighter resilience and readiness has increased. For Special Operation Forces (SOF), who bear unique burdens for training and deployment, programs like the Preservation of the Force and Family have been created to help support SOF and their family members in sustaining capabilities and enhancing resilience in the face of prolonged warfare. In this review, we describe the shift in focus from resilience to human performance optimization (HPO) and the benefits of human performance initiatives that include holistic fitness. We then describe strategies for advancing the application of HPO for future initiatives through tailoring and cultural adaptation, as well as advancing methods for measurement. By striving toward specificity and precision performance, SOF human performance programs can impact individual and team capabilities to a greater extent than in the past, as well as maintaining the well-being of SOF and their families across their careers and beyond.

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