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Effect of Spearmint Extract Containing Rosmarinic Acid on Physical and Executive Functioning After a Tactical Operation

Ostfeld I, Ben-Moshe Y, Hoffman MW, Shalev H, Hoffman JR 18(4). 92 - 96 (Journal Article)

We examined the effect of a proprietary spearmint extract containing rosmarinic acid (PSE) on physical, cognitive, and executive functioning of study participants after a high-risk tactical operation while sleep deprived for 24 hours. Ten Operators (mean ± standard deviation: age, 35.1 ± 5.2 years; height, 177.6 ± 5.3cm; weight, 81.3 ± 9.3kg) from an elite counterterrorism unit volunteered to participate in this randomized, double-blind, parallel-design study. Participants were randomly assigned into either the PSE or placebo (PL) group and ingested 900mg/day PSE or an equivalent amount of PL for 17 days. Physical, cognitive, and executive functioning was tested before PST supplementation (PRE) and within 1 hour of the operation's conclusion (POST). Magnitude-based inferences indicated that differences between PSE and PL in jump power, reactive agility, eye-hand coordination, and cognition were unclear. However, subjective feelings of energy, alertness, and focus were very likely, likely, and possibly better for PSE than PL, respectively. There was no difference (ρ = .64) between groups in identifying the correct target; however, all participants in the PSE group correctly identified the target, whereas 60% of participants in the PL group correctly identified the target at POST. Although the results of this study do not provide conclusive evidence regarding the efficacy of PSE, they do suggest additional research is warranted in a larger sample of participants.

Shooter-Experienced Blast Overpressure in .50-Caliber Rifles

Lang M, Kamimori GH, Misistia A, LaValle CR, Ramos AN, Ghebremedhin MY, Egnoto MJ 18(4). 87 - 91 (Journal Article)

Background: Increasingly, military and law enforcement are using .50-caliber rifles for conflict resolution involving barricades, armor, vehicles, and situations that require increased kinetic energy. Consequences to the shooter resulting from the blast produced while firing these rifles remain unknown. We measured blast overpressure (OP) and impulse across various positions, environments, and weapon configurations to evaluate blast exposures to shooters. Methods: Two separate, multiday, .50-caliber rifle training courses were evaluated to understand the blast exposure profile received from various tactical training scenarios, such as different firing positions (e.g., standing, prone, seated, kneeling) and locations (e.g., inside and atop vehicles, inside buildings, on hard/soft surfaces) across a variety of .50-caliber rifles with various barrel lengths, muzzle devices, and ammunition. Blackbox Biometrics, Generation 6, gauges were placed on operators to measure incident blast exposure. A total of 444 rounds fired from various .50-caliber rifles were evaluated to determine what OP was received by 32 different shooters. Results: Our findings indicate OPs >4 psi are common and that muzzle devices are critical to blast exposure. Shooting positions closer to the ground experienced higher OP and impulse than did other positions. Suppressors mitigated blast effects well. Conclusion: When resources and operational parameters allow, suppressors are recommended, as are positions that move the shooter farther from reflective surfaces (standing preferred) to effectively reduce blast exposure. These shooter positions may require the use of supplemental rifle rests/tripods to provide sufficiently stable firing platforms from the standing position.

Willingness of Emergency Medical Services Professionals to Respond to an Active Shooter Incident

Chovaz M, Patel RV, March JA, Taylor SE, Brewer KL 18(4). 82 - 86 (Journal Article)

Background: Historically, staging of civilian emergency medical services (EMS) during an active shooter incident was in the cold zone while these professionals awaited the scene to be completely secured by multiple waves of law enforcement. This delay in EMS response has led to the development of a more effective method: the Rescue Task Force (RTF). The RTF concept has the second wave of law enforcement escorting civilian EMS into the warm zone, thus decreasing EMS response time. To our knowledge, there are no data regarding the willingness of EMS professionals to enter a warm zone as part of an RTF. In this study, we assessed the willingness of EMS providers to respond to an active shooter incident as part of an RTF. Methods: A survey was distributed at an annual, educational EMS conference in North Carolina. The surveys were distributed on the first day of the conference at the beginning of a general session that focused on EMS stress and wellness. Total attendance was measured using identification badges and scanners on exiting the session. Data were assessed using χ2 analysis, as were associations between demographics of interest and willingness to respond under certain conditions. A p value < .01 indicated statistical significance. Results: The overall response rate was 76% (n = 391 of 515 session attendees). Most surveys were completed by paramedics (74%; n = 288 of 391). Most EMS professionals (75%; n = 293 of 391) stated they would respond to the given active shooter scenario as part of an RTF (escorted by the second wave of law enforcement) if they were given only ballistic gear. However, most EMS professionals (61%; n = 239 of 391) stated they would not respond if they were provided no ballistic gear and no firearm. Those with tactical or military training were more willing to respond with no ballistic gear and no firearm (49.6%; n = 68 of 137) versus those without such training (31%; n = 79 of 250; odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-3.3; p < .001). Conclusion: EMS professionals are willing to put themselves in harm's way by entering a warm zone if they are simply provided the proper training and ballistic equipment.

Evaluation of a Concept for a Military Expedition Performance Environment

Berendsen RR, Vieyra B, Rietjens GJ, Beckers RT, van Hulst RA, Boumeester CE, Hoencamp R 18(4). 75 - 81 (Journal Article)

To evaluate four factors essential in the preparation of high-altitude expeditions and of the performance during these expeditions, the Manaslu 2016 Medical Team, as part of the medical team of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (RNLMC), developed the Military Expedition Performance Environment (MEPE) concept. The scope of this concept is intended to cover (1) selection of a team, (2) medical planning and support, (3) competencies in the field (team work and human factors), and (4) and chain of command.

Feasibility Study Vascular Access and REBOA Placement: From Zero to Hero

Borger van der Burg BL, Maayen RC, van Dongen TT, Gerben C, Eric C, DuBose JJ, Horer TM, Bowyer MW, Hoencamp R 18(4). 70 - 74 (Journal Article)

Background: Vascular access is a necessary prerequisite for REBOA placement in patients with severe hemorrhagic shock. Methods: During an EVTM workshop, 10 Special Forces (SOF) medics, five combat nurses, four military nonsurgeon physicians, and four military surgeons participated in our training program. The military surgeons functioned as the control group. A formalized curriculum was constructed including basic anatomy and training in access materials for resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) placement. Key skills were (1) preparation of endovascular toolkit, (2) achieving vascular access in the model, and (3) bleeding control with REBOA. Results: The baseline knowledge of anatomy for SOF medics was significantly less than that for nurses and physicians. Medics had a median time of 3:59 minutes to sheath insertion; nurses, 2:47; physicians, 2:34; and surgeons, 1:39. Military surgeons were significantly faster than medics and military nurses (ρ = .037 resp. 0.034). Medics had a median total time from start to REBOA inflation of 5:05 minutes; nurses, 4:06; military physicians, 3:36; and surgeons, 2:36. Conclusion: This study showed that a comprehensive theoretical and practical training program using a task training model can be used for percutaneous femoral access and REBOA placement training of military medical personnel without prior ultrasound or endovascular experience. Higher levels of training reduce procedure times.

Differences in Stress Shoot Performance Among Special Forces Operators Who Participate in a Human Performance Program Versus Those Who Do Not

Canada DM, Dawes JJ, Lindsay KG, Elder C, Goldberg P, Bartley N, Werth K, Bricker D, Fischer T 18(4). 64 - 68 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if Army Special Operation Forces (ARSOF) Operators who participate in the Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning program perform significantly better on a simulated stress shoot scenario than ARSOF Operators who do not participate in the program. Methods: Deidentified archival data from 64 male ARSOF Operators (mean ± standard deviation: age, 31.1 ± 4.96 years; SOF experience, 3.44 ± 4.10 years) who participated in the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat stress shoot were assessed to determine if differences in performance existed between program users (n = 25) and nonusers (n = 39). A series of bootstrapped analyses of variance in conjunction with effect-size calculations was conducted to determine if significant mean score differences existed between users and nonusers on raw and total course completion times, high-value target acquisition (positive identification time), and penalties accrued. Results: Small to medium effect sizes were observed between users and nonusers in raw time, penalties, and total time. Although there were no significant differences between users and nonusers, there was less variation in raw time and total time in users compared with nonusers. Conclusion: Our findings becomes a question of practical versus statistical significance, because less performance variability while under physical and psychological duress could be life saving for ARSOF Operators.

Use Your Noodle to Simulate Tourniquet Use on a Limb With and Without Bone

Kragh JF, Zhao NO, Aden JK, Dubick MA 18(4). 57 - 63 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to simulate first aid by mechanical use of a limb tourniquet on a thigh with and without bone to better understand best caregiving practices. Methods: Two investigators studied simulated first aid on a new pool "noodle," a plastic cylinder with a central air tunnel into which we inserted a wood dowel to simulate bone. Data were gathered by group (study and control, n = 12 each). The control group comprised data collected from simulated tourniquet use on the model with bone present. The study group comprised data from simulated tourniquet use on the model without bone. Results: Comparing compression with and without bone, the mean volumes of compressed soft tissues alone were 303mL and 306mL, respectively. When bone was present, the volume of soft tissues was squeezed more, yielding a smaller size by 3mL (1%). The bone had a volume of 41mL and pressed statically outward with an equal force oppositely directed to the inward compression of the overlying soft tissues. With bone removed and compression applied, the mean residual void was 16mL, because 25mL (i.e., 41mL minus 16mL) of soft tissues had collapsed inward. The volume of the limb under the tourniquet with and without bone was 344mL and 322mL, respectively. The collapse volume, 25mL, was 3mL more than the difference of the mean volume of the limb under the tourniquet. More limb squeeze (22mL) looked like better compression, but it was actually worse-an illusion created by collapse of the hidden void. Conclusion: In simulated first aid, mechanical modeling demonstrated how tourniquet compression applied to a limb squeezed the soft tissues better when underlying bone was present. Bone loss altered the compression profile and may complicate control of bleeding in care. This knowledge, its depiction, and its demonstration may inform first-aid instructors.

Advanced Resuscitative Care in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 18-01:14 October 2018

Butler FK, Holcomb JB, Shackelford S, Barbabella S, Bailey JA, Baker JB, Cap AP, Conklin CC, Cunningham CW, Davis M, DeLellis SM, Dorlac WC, DuBose JJ, Eastridge B, Fisher AD, Glasser JJ, Gurney J, Jenkins DA, Johannigman J, King DR, Kotwal RS, Littlejohn LF, Mabry RL, Martin MJ, Miles EA, Montgomery HR, Northern DM, O'Connor KC, Rasmussen TE, Riesberg JC, Spinella PC, Stockinger Z, Strandenes G, Via DK, Weber MA 18(4). 37 - 55 (Journal Article)

TCCC has previously recommended interventions that can effectively prevent 4 of the top 5 causes of prehospital preventable death in combat casualties-extremity hemorrhage, junctional hemorrhage, airway obstruction, and tension pneumothorax- and deaths from these causes have been markedly reduced in US combat casualties. Noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) is the last remaining major cause of preventable death on the battlefield and often causes death within 30 minutes of wounding. Increased use of whole blood, including the capability for massive transfusion, if indicated, has the potential to increase survival in casualties with either thoracic and/or abdominopelvic hemorrhage. Additionally, Zone 1 Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) can provide temporary control of bleeding in the abdomen and pelvis and improve hemodynamics in casualties who may be approaching traumatic cardiac arrest as a result of hemorrhagic shock. Together, these two interventions are designated Advanced Resuscitative Care (ARC) and may enable casualties with severe NCTH to survive long enough to reach the care of a surgeon. Although Special Operations units are now using whole blood far-forward, this capability is not routinely present in other US combat units at this point in time. REBOA is not envisioned as care that could be accomplished by a unit medic working out of his or her aid bag. This intervention should be undertaken only by designated teams of advanced combat medical personnel with special training and equipment.

Use of Drone Technology for Delivery of Medical Supplies During Prolonged Field Care

Mesar T, Lessig A, King DR 18(4). 34 - 35 (Journal Article)

Background: Care of trauma casualties in an austere environment presents many challenges, particularly when evacuation is not immediately available. Man-packable medical supplies may be consumed by a single casualty, and resupply may not be possible before evacuation, particularly during prolonged field care scenarios. We hypothesized that unmanned aerial drones could successfully deliver life-sustaining medical supplies to a remote, denied environment where vehicle or foot traffic is impossible or impractical. Methods: Using an unmanned, rotary- wing drone, we simulated delivery of a customizable, 4.5kg load of medical equipment, including tourniquets, dressings, analgesics, and blood products. A simulated casualty was positioned in a remote area. The flight was preprogrammed on the basis of grid coordinates and flew on autopilot beyond visual range; data (altitude, flight time, route) were recorded live by high-altitude Shadow drone. Delivery time was compared to the known US military standards for traversing uneven topography by foot or wheeled vehicle. Results: Four flights were performed. Data are given as mean (± standard deviation). Time from launch to delivery was 20.77 ± 0.05 minutes (cruise speed, 34.03 ± 0.15 km/h; mean range, 12.27 ± 0.07 km). Medical supplies were delivered successfully within 1m of the target. The drone successfully returned to the starting point every flight. Resupply by foot would take 5.1 hours with an average speed of 2.4km/h and 61.35 minutes, with an average speed of 12 km/h for a wheeled vehicle, if a rudimentary road existed. Conclusion: Use of unmanned drones is feasible for delivery of life-saving medical supplies in austere environments. Drones repeatedly and accurately delivered medical supplies faster than other methods without additional risk to personnel or manned airframe. This technology may have benefit for austere care of military and civilian casualties.

Guerrilla Hospital Design and Lessons Learned

Farr WD 18(4). 30 - 33 (Journal Article)

The author discusses the lessons that can be learned from older sources when engaging in guerilla warfare medicine and surgery.

Pneumonitis and Respiratory Failure Secondary to Civilian Exposure to a Smoke Bomb in a Partially Enclosed Space

Murray BP, Ralston SA, Dunkley CA, Carpenter JE, Geller RJ, Kazzi Z 18(4). 24 - 26 (Case Reports)

Smoke grenades are used during drills, police and military exercises, and crowd control. We report on a 25-year-old man who was exposed to a Superior 3C smoke bomb. He was initially stable but developed respiratory distress after 3 days and ultimately developed pulmonary fibrosis with marked loss in pulmonary function. The Superior 3C smoke bomb is similar in composition to the British Military's L83A1/2 and L132A1 and the US M18 smoke grenades, all commonly used as multipurpose smoke-producing devices for combat and training. They are primarily composed of zinc oxide and hexachlorethane, the combustion of which produces zinc chloride. These devices are safe when used properly in open air but can cause significant morbidity in an enclosed space. This case emphasizes the potential hazards of using smoke bombs even in semienclosed spaces and the potential delay in the development of significant pulmonary complications.

Larger-Caliber Alternative Devices for Decompression of Tension Hemopneumothorax in the Setting of Hemorrhagic Shock

McEvoy CS, Leatherman ML, Held JM, Fluke LM, Ricca RL, Polk T 18(4). 18 - 23 (Case Reports)

Background: The 14-gauge (14G) angiocatheter (AC) has an unacceptably high failure rate in treatment of tension pneumothorax (tPTX). Little is known regarding the interplay among hemorrhage, hemothorax (HTX), and tPTX. We hypothesized that increased hemorrhage predisposes tension physiology and that needle decompression fails more often with increased HTX. Methods: This is a planned secondary analysis of data from our recent comparison of 14G AC with 10-gauge (10G) AC, modified 14G Veress needle, and 3mm laparoscopic trocar conducted in a positive pressure ventilation tension hemopneumothorax model using anesthetized swine. Susceptibility to tension physiology was extrapolated from volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) instilled and time required to induce 50% reduction in cardiac output. Failures to rescue and recover were compared between the 10% and 20% estimated blood volume (EBV) HTX groups and across devices. Results: A total of 196 tension hemopneumothorax events were evaluated. No differences were noted in the volume of CO2 instilled nor time to tension physiology. HTX with 10% EBV had fewer failures compared with 20% HTX (7% versus 23%; p = .002). For larger-caliber devices, there was no difference between HTX groups, whereas smaller-caliber devices had more failures and longer time to rescue with increased HTX volume as well as increased variability in times to rescue in both HTX volume groups. Conclusion: Increased HTX volume did not predispose tension physiology; however, smaller-caliber devices were associated with more failures and longer times to rescue in 20% HTX as compared with 10% HTX. Use of larger devices for decompression has benefit and further study with more profound hemorrhage and HTX and spontaneous breathing models is warranted.

Fall 2018 Journal (Vol 18 Ed 3)

Vol 18 Ed 3
Fall 2018 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

View the Table of Contents
Draw-over Anesthesia Bringing the "Dark Art" Back Into the Light

Graves MW, Billings S 18(3). 125 - 133 (Journal Article)

Knowledge Versus Suspicion

Turconi M, Dare C, Hampton K 18(3). 124 (Journal Article)

Prolonged Field Care in Support of Operation Inherent Resolve, 2016

Blaine C, Abbott M, Jacobson E 18(3). 120 - 123 (Journal Article)

The authors present their experience in emergency and longterm medical care by Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical providers in an austere environment. In this case, a Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SFOD-A) was deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, partnered with indigenous combat forces.

Damage Control Resuscitation in Prolonged Field CareDamage Control Resuscitation in Prolonged Field Care

Fisher AD, Washbum G, Powell D, Callaway DW, Miles EA, Brown J, Dituro P, Baker JB, Christensen JB, Cunningham CW, Gurney J, Lopata J, Loos PE, Maitha J, Riesberg JC, Stockinger Z, Strandenes G, Spinella PC, Cap AP, Keenan S, Shackelford S 18(3). 109 - 119 (Journal Article)

How the International Special Training Centre Is Training World-Class Medics: An Outline of the NATO Special Operations Combat Medic Course

Christensen JB 18(3). 103 - 108 (Journal Article)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Special Operations Combat Medic (NSOCM) course is specifically designed to train 24 highly selected Special Operations Forces (SOF) members to treat trauma and nontrauma patients who have life-threatening diseases and/or injuries. The NSOCM course is held at the International Special Training Centre (ISTC) in Pfullendorf, Germany, and exemplifies ISTC's mission to build interoperability and strengthening alliances between multinational partners. The 24-week NSOCM course is taught by subject matter experts and SOF members from around the globe. Building interoperability and capacity with common NATO standards is crucial to medical support of all future SOF missions where military units and other small elements will be vitally dependent on each other for combined missions at the regional, national, or NATO level. A better understanding and knowledge of the current SOF medic role and the capabilities they need to bring to the battlefield will help advance their scope from the "classic" trauma scenarios to the more advanced clinical medicine and prolonged field care situations. The NSOCM must become a critical-thinker and be able to recognize and treat these health risks and conditions in remote, austere environments, finding the right solution with a limited arsenal at their disposal. The ISTC-NSOCM course is designed to help bridge this gap and raise situational awareness for the NATO on-the-ground medical professionals to ensure "the more they know the more apt they are to save a life." In essence, it is ISTC's goal to meet these challenges by training NSOCMs to meet these multidimensional demands. This article outlines ISTC's development and design of the NSOCM course and new adaptations as we move forward into our third year of training world-class medics.

Osteoarthritis: Pathophysiology, Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Exercise for Reducing Pain and Disability

Knapik JJ, Pope R, Orr R, Schram B 18(3). 94 - 102 (Journal Article)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disorder involving deterioration of articular cartilage and underlying bone and is associated with symptoms of pain and disability. The incidence of OA in the military increased over the period 2000 to 2012 and was the first or second leading cause of medical separations in this period. Risk factors for OA include older age, black race, genetics, higher body mass index, prior knee injury, and excessive joint loading. Animal studies indicate that moderate exercise can assist in maintaining normal cartilage, and individuals performing moderate levels of exercise show little evidence of OA. There is considerable evidence that among individuals who develop OA, moderate and regular exercise can reduce pain and disability. There is no firm evidence that any particular mode of exercise (e.g., aerobic training, resistance exercise) is more effective than another for reducing OA-related pain and disability, but limited research suggests that exercise should be lifelong and conducted at least three times per week for optimal effects.


Burnett MW 18(3). 92 - 93 (Journal Article)

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