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Clinical Update: The Risk of Opioid Toxicity and Naloxone Use in Operational K9s

Palmer LE, Gautier A 17(4). 86 - 92 (Journal Article)

The increasing use of opioids (e.g., fentanyl, carfentanil) for illicit drug manufacturing poses a potential life-threatening hazard to law enforcement officers and first responders (e.g., EMS, fire and rescue) who may unknowingly come into contact with these drugs during the course of their daily activities. Similarly, Operational canines (OpK9s) of all disciplines-detection (drug, explosive, accelerant), patrol, tracking, search and rescue, and others-are at risk for accidental illicit opioid exposure. The most serious adverse effect of opioid exposure is respiratory depression leading to slow, shallow breathing or complete cessation of voluntary breathing (respiratory arrest). Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is the antidote for reversing the effects of an opioid overdose in both humans and OpK9s. This clinical update describes the potential risks associated with opioid exposure as well as the use of naloxone as it pertains to the OpK9.

Hand Injuries

Banting J, Meriano T 17(4). 93 - 96 (Journal Article)

Expeditionary Resuscitation Surgical Team: The US Army's Initiative to Provide Damage Control Resuscitation and Surgery to Forces in Austere Settings

D'Angelo M, Losch J, Smith B, Geslak M, Compton S, Wofford K, Seery JM, Morrison M, Wedmore I, Paimore J, Gross K, Cuenca PJ, Welder MD 17(4). 76 - 79 (Journal Article)

Improvements in surgical care on the battlefield have contributed to reduced morbidity and mortality in wounded Servicemembers. 1 Point-of-injury care and early surgical intervention, along with improved personal protective equipment, have produced the lowest casualty statistics in modern warfare, resulting in improved force strength, morale, and social acceptance of conflict. It is undeniable that point-of-care injury, followed by early resuscitation and damage control surgery, saves lives on the battlefield. The US Army's Expeditionary Resuscitation Surgical Team (ERST) is a highly mobile, interprofessional medical team that can perform damage control resuscitation and surgery in austere locations. Its configuration and capabilities vary; however, in general, a typical surgical element can perform one major surgery and one minor surgery without resupply. The critical care element can provide prolonged holding in garrison, but this diminishes in the austere setting with complex and acutely injured patients.

Efficacy of the Mnemonic Device "MARCH PAWS" as a Checklist for Pararescuemen During Tactical Field Care and Tactical Evacuation

Kosequat J, Rush SC, Simonsen I, Gallo I, Scott A, Swats K, Gray CC, Mason B 17(4). 80 - 84 (Journal Article)

Background: The application of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) represents evidence-based medicine to improve survival in combat. Over the past several years, US Air Force Pararescuemen (PJs) have expanded the mnemonic device "MARCH" to "MARCH PAWS" for use during tactical field care and tactical evacuation (TACEVAC). The mnemonic stands for massive bleeding, airway, respiration, circulation, head and hypothermia, pain, antibiotics, wounds, and splinting. We undertook this performance improvement project to determine the efficacy of this device as a treatment checklist. Methods: The mission reports of a 16-PJ combat rescue deployment to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) from January through June 2012 were reviewed. The triage category, mechanism of injury, injury, and treatments were noted. The treatments were then categorized to determine if they were included in MARCH PAWS. Results: The recorded data for missions involving 465 patients show that 45%, 48%, and 7%, were in category A, B, and C, respectively (urgent, priority, routine); 55% were battle injuries (BIs) and 45% were nonbattle injuries (NBIs). All treatments for BI were accounted for in MARCH PAWS. Only 9 patients' treatments with NBI were not in MARCH PAWS. Conclusion: This simple mnemonic device is a reliable checklist for PJs, corpsmen, and medics to perform TACEVAC during combat Operations, as well as care for noncombat trauma patients.

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.

Experience With Prehospital Damage Control Capability in Modern Conflict: Results From Surgical Resuscitation Team Use

DuBose JJ, Martens D, Frament C, Haque I, Telian S, Benson PJ 17(4). 68 - 71 (Journal Article)

Background: Early resuscitation and damage control surgery (DCS) are critical components of modern combat casualty care. Early and effective DCS capabilities can be delivered in a variety of settings through the use of a mobile surgical resuscitation team (SRT). Methods: Twelve years of after-action reports from SRTs were reviewed. Demographics, interventions, and outcomes were analyzed. Results: Data from 190 casualties (185 human, five canine) were reviewed. Among human casualties, 12 had no signs of life at intercept and did not survive. Of the remaining 173 human casualties, 96.0% were male and 90.8% sustained penetrating injuries. Interventions by the SRT included intravascular access (50.9%) and advanced airway establishment (29.5%). Resuscitation included whole blood (3.5%), packed red blood cells (20.8%), and thawed plasma (11.0%). Surgery was provided for 63 of the 173 human casualties (36.4%), including damage control laparotomy (23.8%) and arterial injury shunting or repair (19.0%). SRTs were effectively used to augment an existing medical treatment facility (70.5%), to facilitate casualty transport (13.3%), as an independent surgical entity at a forward ground structure (9.2%), and in mobile response directly to the point of injury (6.9%). Overall survival was 97.1%. Conclusion: An SRT provides a unique DCS capability that can be successfully used in a variety of flexible roles.

Diagnostic Accuracy of Emergency Bedside Ultrasonography to Detect Cutaneous Wooden Foreign Bodies: Does Size Matter?

Fleming ME, Heiner JD, Summers S, April MD, Chin EJ 17(4). 72 - 75 (Journal Article)

Background: Soft-tissue occult foreign bodies are a concerning cause of morbidity in the emergency department. The identification of wooden foreign bodies is a unique challenge because they are often not detectable by plain radiography. The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of emergency physician-performed ultrasonography to detect wooden foreign bodies of varying sizes. We hypothesized that sonographic sensitivity would improve with increasing foreign body size. Methods: We conducted a blinded, prospective evaluation using a previously validated, chicken, soft-tissue model to simulate human tissue. We inserted wooden toothpicks of varying lengths (1mm, 2.5mm, 5mm, 7.5mm, 10mm) to a depth of 1cm in five tissue models. Five additional models were left without a foreign body to serve as controls. Fifty emergency physicians with prior ultrasonography training performed sonographic examinations of all 10 models and reported on the presence or absence of wooden foreign bodies. Results: Subjects performed 10 ultrasonography examinations each for a total of 500 examinations. For the detection of wooden foreign bodies, overall test characteristics for sonography included sensitivity 48.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 42.1%-54.8%) and specificity 67.6% (95% CI, 61.3%- 73.2%). Sensitivity did not change as object size increased (ρ = s.709). Conclusion: Emergency physician bedside ultrasonography demonstrated poor diagnostic accuracy for the detection of wooden foreign bodies. Accuracy did not improve with increasing object size up to 10mm. Providers should consider alternative diagnostic modalities if there is persistent clinical concern for a retained, radiolucent, soft-tissue foreign body.

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.

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.

Use of Physical Therapists to Identify and Treat Musculoskeletal Injuries at "The Tip of the Trident"

Shaw J, Brown L, Jansen B 17(4). 45 - 48 (Journal Article)

Musculoskeletal injuries continue to be the most common cause of decreased readiness and loss of productivity in all military environments. In commands with smaller footprints, such as Naval Special Warfare (NSW), every asset is critical for mission success. Studies have shown that early intervention by a medical provider can enhance healing and maintain unit readiness by preventing medical evacuations. Reports are limited with regard to Special Forces commands, especially during deployment. This article describes the injury characteristics and treatment of injuries seen by a physical therapist while deployed at forward operation commands embedded with NSW Group 2 Team 4. Over 4 months, 282 patients were evaluated and treated in southeast Afghanistan. In descending order, the three most common injured body regions were the lumbar/sacral spine (n = 82), shoulder (n = 59), and knee (n = 28). Therapy exercises (n = 461) were the most frequently performed treatment modality, followed by mobilization/manipulation (n = 394) and dry needling (n = 176). No patient evaluated was medically evacuated from the area or sent to an advanced medical site. Our data are similar to other published data reported on deployed units in terms of mechanisms and locations of injuries; thus, Special Forces commands do not appear to have unique injury patterns. These results support continued use of physical therapists in forward operations because of their ability to evaluate injuries and provide treatment modalities that help maintain the integrity of small commands at the site of injury.

Staff Attitudes Regarding the Impact of a Therapy Dog Program on Military Behavioral Health Patients

Brisson S, Dekker AH 17(4). 49 - 51 (Journal Article)

Background: Human-animal interactions in the form of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) have become common in both civilian and military health care facilities. Evidence supports AAT as a beneficial therapeutic alternative for patients with physical disabilities and psychological disorders. Few studies have been conducted in the civilian health care setting to evaluate staff attitudes regarding the impact of an AAT program on behavioral health (BH) patients. To our knowledge, no research has examined staff attitudes on the impact and effectiveness of AAT on active-duty Servicemembers in a BH program at a military facility. Methods: At the completion of a year-long AAT dog program and after institutional review board exemption, an anonymous, six-question survey was used to examine staff attitudes (n = 29) regarding the impact and continuation of the program with military BH patients. Results: Most staff members (86%) believed the AAT dog program had a positive impact on the BH patients, including improved patient mood, greater patient relaxation, improved patient attitude toward therapy, and increased social interactions among patients. All the staff reported a desire to continue the program at the military facility. Conclusion: Most BH staff thought the year-long AAT dog program had a positive impact on patients. All staff supported continuation of the program.

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.

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.

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.

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; 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.

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

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

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.

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)

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)

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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