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Stress Fractures: Etiology, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Knapik JJ, Reynolds K, Hoedebecke KL 17(2). 120 - 130 (Journal Article)

Stress fractures are part of a continuum of changes in healthy bones in response to repeated mechanical deformation from physical activity. If the activity produces excessive repetitive stress, osteoclastic processes in the bone may proceed at a faster pace than osteoblastic processes, thus weakening the bone and augmenting susceptibility to stress fractures. Overall stress fracture incidence is about three cases per 1,000 in active duty Servicemembers, but it is much higher among Army basic trainees: 19 per 1,000 for men and 80 per 1,000 for women. Well-documented risk factors include female sex, white ethnicity, older age, taller stature, lower aerobic fitness, prior physical inactivity, greater amounts of current physical training, thinner bones, cigarette smoking, and inadequate intake of vitamin D and/or calcium. Individuals with stress fractures present with focal tenderness and local pain that is aggravated by physical activity and reduced by rest. A sudden increase in the volume of physical activity along with other risk factors is often reported. Simple clinical tests can assist in diagnosis, but more definitive imaging tests will eventually need to be conducted if a stress fracture is suspected. Plain radiographs are recommended as the initial imaging test, but magnetic resonance imaging has higher sensitivity and is more likely to detect the injury sooner. Treatment involves first determining if the stress fracture is of higher or lower risk; these are distinguished by anatomical location and whether the bone is loaded in tension (high risk) or compression (lower risk). Lowerrisk stress fractures can be initially treated by reducing loading on the injured bone through a reduction in activity or by substituting other activities. Higher-risk stress fractures should be referred to an orthopedist. Investigated prevention strategies include modifications to physical training programs, use of shock absorbing insoles, vitamin D and calcium supplementation, modifications of military equipment, and leadership education with injury surveillance.

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Prolonged Field Care for the Summer 2017 Edition

Keenan S 17(2). 131 (Journal Article)

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Acute Traumatic Wound Management in the Prolonged Field Care Setting

Rapp J, Plackett TP, Crane J, Lu J, Hardin D, Loos PE, Kelly R, Murray CK, Keenan S, Shackelford S 17(2). 132 - 149 (Journal Article)

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Introduction to the Unconventional Medicine Series

Hetzler MR 17(2). 153 (Journal Article)

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Maggot Therapy for Wound Care in Austere Environments

Sherman RA, Hetzler MR 17(2). 154 - 162 (Journal Article)

The past 25 years have seen an increase in use of maggot therapy for wound care. Maggot therapy is very effective in wound debridement; it is simple to apply and requires very little in the way of resources, costs, or skilled personnel. These characteristics make it well suited for use in austere environments. The use of medical-grade maggots makes maggot therapy nearly risk free, but medical grade maggots may not always be available, especially in the wilderness or in resource-limited communities. By understanding myiasis and fly biology, it should be possible even for the nonentomologist to obtain maggots from the wild and apply them therapeutically, with minimal risks.

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Optimizing the Use of Limb Tourniquets in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 14-02

Shackelford S, Butler FK, Kragh JF, Stevens RA, Seery JM, Parsons DL, Montgomery HR, Kotwal RS, Mabry RL, Bailey JA 15(1). 17 - 31 (Journal Article)

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Intensive Skills Week for Military Medical Students Increases Technical Proficiency, Confidence, and Skills to Minimize Negative Stress

Mueller G, Hunt B, Wall V, Rush R, Moloff A, Schoeff J, Wedmore I, Schmid J, LaPorta AJ 12(4). 45 - 53 (Journal Article)

The effects of stress induced cortisol on learning and memory is well documented in the literature.1-3 Memory and learning are enhanced at low levels while high levels are detrimental. Repetitive training in stressful situations enables management of the stress response4 as demonstrated by the high intensity training military members undergo to prepare for tactical situations. Appropriate management of one's stress response is critical in the medical field, as the negative effects of stress can potentially hinder life-saving procedures and treatments. This also applies to physicians-in-training as they learn and practice triage, emergency medicine, and surgical skills prior to graduation. Rocky Vista University's Military Medicine Honor's Track (MMHT) held a week long high-intensity emergency medicine and surgical Intensive Skills Week (ISW), facilitated by military and university physicians, to advance students' skills and maximize training using the Human Worn Partial Surgical Task Simulator (Cut Suit). The short-term goal of the ISW was to overcome negative stress responses to increase confidence, technical and non-technical knowledge, and skill in surgery and emergency medicine in an effort to improve performance as third-year medical students. The long-term goal was to enhance performance and proficiency in residency and future medical practice. The metrics for the short-term goals were the focus of this pilot study. Results show an increase in confidence and decrease in perceived stress as well as statistically significant improvements in technical and non-technical skills and surgical instrumentation knowledge throughout the week. There is a correlative benefit to physician and non-physician military personnel, especially Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical personnel, from developing and implementing similar training programs when live tissue or cadaver models are unavailable or unfeasible.

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Evaluation of NuStat®, a Novel Nonimpregnated Hemostatic Dressing, Compared With Combat Gauze™ in Severe Traumatic Porcine Hemorrhage Model

Hillis GR, Yi CJ, Amrani DL, Akers TW, Schwartz RB, Wedmore I, McManus JG 14(4). 41 - 47 (Journal Article)

Background: Uncontrolled hemorrhage remains one of the most challenging problems facing emergency medical professionals and a leading cause of traumatic death in both battlefield and civilian environments. Survival is determined by the ability to rapidly control hemorrhage. Several commercially available topical adjunct agents have been shown to be effective in controlling hemorrhage, and one, Combat Gauze™ (CG), is used regularly on the battlefield and for civilian applications. However, recent literature reviews have concluded that no ideal topical agent exists for all injuries and scenarios. The authors compared a novel nonimpregnated dressing composed of cellulose and silica, NuStat® (NS), to CG in a lethal hemorrhagic groin injury. These dressings were selected for their commercial availability and design intended for control of massive hemorrhage. Methods: A complex penetrating femoral artery groin injury was made using a 5.5mm vascular punch followed by 45 seconds of uncontrolled hemorrhage in 15 swine. The hemostatic dressings were randomized using a random sequence generator and then assigned to the animals. Three minutes of manual pressure was applied with each agent after the free bleed. Hextend™ bolus (500mL) was subsequently rapidly infused using a standard pressure bag along with the addition of maintenance fluids to maintain blood pressure. Hemodynamic parameters were recorded every 10 minutes and additionally at critical time points defined in the protocol. Primary end points included immediate hemostasis upon release of manual pressure (T0), hemostasis at 60 minutes, and rebleeding during the 60-minute observation period. Results: NS was statistically superior to CG in a 5.5mm traumatic hemorrhage model at T0 for immediate hemostasis (ρ = .0475), duration of application time (ρ = .0093), use of resuscitative fluids (ρ = .0042) and additional blood loss after application (ρ = .0385). NS and CG were statistically equivalent for hemostasis at 60 minutes, rebleeding during the study, and the additional secondary metrics, although the trend indicated that in a larger sample size, NS could prove statistical superiority in selected categories. Conclusions: In this porcine model of uncontrolled hemorrhage, NS improved immediate hemorrhage control, stability, and use of fluid in a 60-minute severe porcine hemorrhage model. In this study, NS demonstrated equivalence to CG at achieving long-term hemostasis and the prevention of rebleed after application. NS was shown to be an efficacious choice for hemorrhage control in combat and civilian emergency medical service environments.

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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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