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Analgesia and Sedation Management During Prolonged Field Care

Pamplin JC, Fisher AD, Penny A, Olufs R, Rapp J, Hampton K, Riesberg J, Powell D, Keenan S, Shackelford S 17(1). 106 - 120 (Journal Article)

Avoiding Program-Induced Cumulative Overload (PICO)

Orr R, Knapik JJ, Pope R 16(2). 91 - 95 (Journal Article)

This article defines the concept of program-induced cumulative overload (PICO), provides examples, and advises ways to mitigate the adverse effects. PICO is the excessive cumulative physical workload that can be imparted to military personnel by a military training program with an embedded physical training component. PICO can be acute (accumulating within a single day) or chronic (accumulating across the entirety of the program) and results in adverse outcomes for affected personnel, including detrimental fatigue, performance degradation, injuries, or illness. Strategies to mitigate PICO include focusing administration and logistic practices during the development and ongoing management of a trainee program and implementing known musculoskeletal injury prevention strategies. More training is not always better, and trainers need to consider the total amount of physical activity that military personnel experience across both operational training and physical training if PICO is to be mitigated.

Risk Factors for Injuries During Airborne Static Line Operations

Knapik JJ, Steelman R 14(3). 95 - 97 (Journal Article)

US Army airborne operations began in World War II. Continuous improvements in parachute technology, aircraft exit procedures, and ground landing techniques have reduced the number of injuries over time from 27 per 1,000 descents to about 6 per 1,000 jumps. Studies have identified a number of factors that put parachutists at higher injury risk, including high wind speeds, night jumps, combat loads, higher temperatures, lower fitness, heavier body weight, and older age. Airborne injuries can be reduced by limiting risker training (higher wind speeds, night jumps, combat load) to the minimum necessary for tactical and operational proficiency. Wearing a parachute ankle brace (PAB) will reduce ankle injuries without increasing other injuries and should be considered by all parachutists, especially those with prior ankle problems. A high level of upper body muscular endurance and aerobic fitness is not only beneficial for general health but also associated with lower injury risk during airborne training.

What Can Be Done With Expired Pharmaceuticals? A Review Of Literature As It Pertains To Special Operations Force's Medics

Culbertson NT 11(2). 1 - 6 (Journal Article)

Over the past decade, increasing evidence suggests that pharmaceuticals may continue to be potent beyond their date of expiration. Despite this evidence, we have not yet experienced a change in United States federal policy that would recommend usage of expired pharmaceuticals. While the scientific community and federal regulators continue to study the matter, the medical community is often guilty of misunderstanding the nuances of the issue. As a result, many healthcare professionals misinform their peers and their patients on either the appropriateness or inappropriateness of taking expired medications. Even though both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not recommend the dosing of expired pharmaceuticals at this time, discussion of the issue is warranted in order to understand the potential behind some expired drugs and to encourage further research. This discussion is particularly relevant to the Special Operations medical community, since Special Operations Force's (SOF) medic s frequently encounter expired medication overseas. Given thei r unique sk ill set and working environ ment, the SOF medic should be familiar with the potential applications of expired medications, including their drawbacks.

Invasive Reduction of Paraphimosis in an Adolescent Male While in a Deployed Austere Environment

Pham C, Zehring J, Berry-Caban CS 17(1). 9 - 13 (Case Reports)

Paraphimosis is a urologic emergency resulting in tissue necrosis and partial amputation, if not reduced. Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin of the uncircumcised or partially circumcised male is retracted behind the glans penis, develops venous and lymphatic congestion, and cannot be returned to its normal position. Invasive reduction of paraphimosis requires minimal instruments and can be accomplished by experienced providers. This case describes a 10-year-old local national with paraphimosis over 10 days that required invasive reduction in a deployed austere environment in Africa.

A Soldier With an Exertional Heat Injury, Ischemic-Appearing Electrocardiogram, and Elevated Troponins: A Clinical Case Report

Schauer SG, Pfaff JA 17(1). 14 - 16 (Case Reports)

Heat injuries are a common occurrence in the military training setting due to both the physically demanding nature of the training and the environments in which we train. Testing is often done after the diagnosis of a heat injury to screen for abnormalities. We present the case of a 20-year-old male Soldier with an abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) with a possible injury pattern and an elevated troponin level. He underwent a diagnostic cardiac angiogram, which demonstrated no abnormal findings. He was returned to duty upon recovery from the catheterization. Ischemic-appearing ECG and troponin findings may be noted after heat injury. In this case, it was not associated with any cardiac lesions.

Lighting Did Not Affect Self-application of a Stretch and Wrap Style Tourniquet

Wall PL, Welander JD, Sahr SM, Buising CM 12(3). 68 - 73 (Journal Article)

The objective was to determine the effects of darkness on self-application of a stretch and wrap style tourniquet. Methods: Following training and practice, 15 volunteers self-applied the Stretch, Wrap, and Tuck-Tourniquet (SWAT-T) to their leg, thigh, dominant forearm, and dominate arm. Proper application in lighted conditions was followed by the same applications in darkness. Proper stretch was determined by alteration of shapes printed on the tourniquet. Results: High rates of proper application and successful arterial occlusion (60 second Doppler signal elimination) occurred in darkness just as in lighted conditions (darkness: 56 proper and 60 successful of 60 applications, lighted: 57 proper and 53 successful of 60 applications). Lighting did not affect ease of application or discomfort. Males (8) and females (7) were similarly successful. Lower limb applications were predominantly rated easy (51 of 60). Upper limb applications had fewer easy ratings (15 easy, 32 challenging, 13 difficult ratings). Arterial occlusion took < 60 seconds in 112 of 113 successful applications; completion took < 60 seconds in 88 of all 120 applications. Upper limb applications took longer for completion. Conclusions: The SWAT-T stretch and wrap style tourniquet can be self-applied properly even in darkness. When properly applied, it can stop limb arterial flow.

Operational Point-of-Care Ultrasound Review: Low-Cost Simulators and Resources for Advanced Prehospital Providers

Ross EM, Deaton TG, Hurst N, Siefert J 15(1). 71 - 78 (Journal Article)

Prehospital ultrasound use is a relatively new skill set. The military noted the clear advantages of this skill set in the deployed setting and moved forward with teaching their advanced combat trauma medics skills to perform specific examinations. The training curriculum for Special Operations-level clinical ultrasound was created and adapted from training guidelines set forth by the American College of Emergency Physicians with a focus on the examinations relevant to the Special Operations community. Once providers leave the training environment, skill sustainment can be difficult. We discuss the relevant ultrasound exams for the prehospital setting. We address opportunities to improve point-of-care ultrasound skills through hands-on experience while in a fixed medical facility. Options for simulation-based training are discussed with descriptions for creating lowcost simulation models. Finally, a list of online resources is provided to review specific ultrasound examinations.

A Triple-Option Analgesia Plan for Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 13-04

Butler FK, Kotwal RS, Buckenmaier CC, Edgar EP, O'Connor KC, Montgomery HR, Shackelford S, Gandy JV, Wedmore I, Timby JW, Gross K, Bailey JA 14(1). 13 - 25 (Journal Article)

Although the majority of potentially preventable fatalities among U.S. combat forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have died from hemorrhagic shock, the majority of U.S. medics carry morphine autoinjectors for prehospital battlefield analgesia. Morphine given intramuscularly has a delayed onset of action and, like all opioids, may worsen hemorrhagic shock. Additionally, on a recent assessment of prehospital care in Afghanistan, combat medical personnel noted that Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) battlefield analgesia recommendations need to be simplified-there are too many options and not enough clear guidance on which medication to use in specific situations. They also reported that ketamine is presently being used as a battlefield analgesic by some medics in theater with good results. This report proposes that battlefield analgesia be achieved using one or more of three options: (1) the meloxicam and Tylenol in the TCCC Combat Pill Pack for casualties with relatively minor pain who are still able to function as effective combatants; (2) oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) for casualties who have moderate to severe pain, but who are not in hemorrhagic shock or respiratory distress and are not at significant risk for developing either condition; or (3) ketamine for casualties who have moderate to severe pain but who are in hemorrhagic shock or respiratory distress or are at significant risk for developing either condition. Ketamine may also be used to increase analgesic effect for casualties who have previously been given opioids (morphine or fentanyl.)

Fluid Resuscitation for Hemorrhagic Shock in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 14-01 - 2 June 2014

Butler FK, Holcomb JB, Schreiber MA, Kotwal RS, Jenkins DA, Champion HR, Bowling F, Cap AP, Dubose JJ, Dorlac WC, Dorlac GR, McSwain NE, Timby JW, Blackbourne LH, Stockinger Z, Strandenes G, Weiskopf RB, Gross K, Bailey JA 14(3). 13 - 38 (Journal Article)

This report reviews the recent literature on fluid resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock and considers the applicability of this evidence for use in resuscitation of combat casualties in the prehospital Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) environment. A number of changes to the TCCC Guidelines are incorporated: (1) dried plasma (DP) is added as an option when other blood components or whole blood are not available; (2) the wording is clarified to emphasize that Hextend is a less desirable option than whole blood, blood components, or DP and should be used only when these preferred options are not available; (3) the use of blood products in certain Tactical Field Care (TFC) settings where this option might be feasible (ships, mounted patrols) is discussed; (4) 1:1:1 damage control resuscitation (DCR) is preferred to 1:1 DCR when platelets are available as well as plasma and red cells; and (5) the 30-minute wait between increments of resuscitation fluid administered to achieve clinical improvement or target blood pressure (BP) has been eliminated. Also included is an order of precedence for resuscitation fluid options. Maintained as recommendations are an emphasis on hypotensive resuscitation in order to minimize (1) interference with the body's hemostatic response and (2) the risk of complications of overresuscitation. Hextend is retained as the preferred option over crystalloids when blood products are not available because of its smaller volume and the potential for long evacuations in the military setting.


Burnett MW 13(4). 113 - 114 (Journal Article)

Background: Pertussis, a disease that has been well described since the Middle Ages, has a worldwide distribution and can infect all ages. It is caused by the gram-negative, pleomorphic bacillus Bordetella pertussis, which is transmitted from human to human via aerosolized droplets at close range. Descriptions such as the one-hundred day cough in Chinese and whooping cough in English, describe the severity of this disease seen in both the developed and the developing world.

Combat Ready Clamp Medic Technique

Tovmassian RV, Kragh JF, Dubick MA, Baer DG, Blackbourne LH 12(4). 72 - 78 (Journal Article)

Background: Junctional hemorrhage control device use on the battlefield might be lifesaving, but little experience is reported. The purpose of the present case report is to detail prehospital use of the Combat Ready Clamp (called the CRoC by its users, Combat Medical Systems, Fayetteville, NC; Instructions for Use, 2010) in casualty care in order to increase awareness of junctional hemorrhage control. Methods: The CRoC was used to control difficult inguinal bleeding on the battlefield for an Afghani man with a hindquarter traumatic amputation. Results: The device promptly controlled exsanguination from a critical injury when placed during rotary-wing casualty evacuation. The flight medic applied the device in 90 seconds. The device performed well without complications to control bleeding. Discussion: The CRoC, a new junctional hemorrhage control device, was used as indicated on the battlefield with mechanical and physiologic success and without device problems. By controlling difficult inguinal bleeding resulting from battlefield trauma, the device facilitated casualty stabilization and delivery to a surgical facility. The device facilitated the ability of a new flight medic to focus his expertise on a critically injured battlefield casualty with demonstrable success.

Cultural Competency and Patient-Centered Communication: A Study of an Isolated Outbreak of Urinary Tract Infections in Afghanistan

Culbertson NT, Scholl BJ 13(3). 70 - 73 (Journal Article)

Background: Personal hygiene is strongly associated with disease prevention and is especially important during prolonged patrol or combat operations. Understanding cultural variances associated with personal hygiene is critical for Special Operation Forces (SOF) medics to prevent, monitor, and treat acquired and transmitted infections while working with host nation personnel. Case Presentation: During a multiday, long-range patrol, approximately 40 male Afghan National Army troops between the ages of 22 and 49 presented for treatment of burning or pain while urinating. All patients were empirically diagnosed with urinary tract infections. Methods and Discussion: The high attack rate and isolated nature of the outbreak suggested that personal hygiene or sexual intercourse was the most likely cause of the isolated outbreak. However, the cultural sensitivity of both topics made social history gathering a difficult task. After participating in a detailed medical interview, one patient revealed that he and his comrades were blocking their urethras with clay plugs after voiding to prevent residual urine from dripping onto their clothes. Conclusions: This case study presents what might be an undocumented practice carried throughout many ethnic cultures endogenous to Afghanistan and discusses how cultural barriers can impact effective health care delivery.

Special Operations Forces and Incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Hing M, Cabrera J, Barstow C, Forsten RD 12(3). 23 - 35 (Journal Article)

To determine the rates of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) positive symptom scores in Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel, an anonymous survey of SOF was employed, incorporating the PTSD Checklist (PCLM) with both demographic and deployment data. Results indicate that all SOF units studied scored above the accepted cut-offs for PTSD positive screening.1 When total symptom severity score exceeded established cutoff points and were combined with criteria for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition 4 (DSM-IV) diagnosis of PTSD,2 approximately 16-20% of respondents met scoring threshold for positive screening, almost double those of conventional Army units. Collectively, Special Forces (SF) Soldiers and SOF combat- arms Soldiers had significantly higher PLC-M scores than their non-combat-arms SOF counterparts. SOF Soldiers with three or more deployments to Afghanistan had significantly higher PCL-M scores. Considering the evidence suggesting that SOF Soldiers are hyper-resilient to stress, these results should drive further research schemata and challenge clinical assumptions of PTSD within Special Operations.

A Painful Rash in an Austere Environment

Hellums JS, Klapperich K 15(1). 113 - 117 (Journal Article)

Dermatologic complaints are common in the deployed environment. Preventive medicine and knowledge of indigenous flora and fauna are cornerstones for forward deployed medical personnel. This article describes a case of Paederus dermatitis in an austere environment, reviews dermatologic terminology, and provides a reminder of the importance of exercising good preventive medicine procedures.

Q Fever

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

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

Literature Evidence on Live Animal Versus Synthetic Models for Training and Assessing Trauma Resuscitation Procedures

Hart D, McNeil M, Hegarty C, Rush R, Chipman J, Clinton J, Reihsen T, Sweet R 16(2). 44 - 51 (Journal Article)

There are many models currently used for teaching and assessing performance of trauma-related airway, breathing, and hemorrhage procedures. Although many programs use live animal (live tissue [LT]) models, there is a congressional effort to transition to the use of nonanimal- based methods (i.e., simulators, cadavers) for military trainees. We examined the existing literature and compared the efficacy, acceptability, and validity of available models with a focus on comparing LT models with synthetic systems. Literature and Internet searches were conducted to examine current models for seven core trauma procedures. We identified 185 simulator systems. Evidence on acceptability and validity of models was sparse. We found only one underpowered study comparing the performance of learners after training on LT versus simulator models for tube thoracostomy and cricothyrotomy. There is insufficient data-driven evidence to distinguish superior validity of LT or any other model for training or assessment of critical trauma procedures.

Field Sterilization in the Austere and Operational Environment A Literature Review of Recommendations

Will JS, Alderman SM, Sawyer RC 16(2). 36 - 43 (Journal Article)

Special Operations Forces medical providers are often deployed far beyond traditional military supply chains, forcing them to rely on alternative methods for field sterilization of medical equipment. This literature review proposes several alternative methods for both sterilization and disinfection of medical instruments after use and cleaning of skin and wounds before procedures. This article reviews recommendations from sources like the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Evaluation for Testosterone Deficiency

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

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

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