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USSOCOM TCCC CASEVAC Set Program A Retrospective and Overview

Gilpin J 12(4). 79 - 85 (Journal Article)

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) Set Program was initiated in 2006 as a three-step effort. The initial effort was to develop an improved Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK); this was followed by the development of a Medic bag and culminated with the CASEVAC Set. The intent of the Program is both standardizing the medical load out across SOF components and expanding the skill set of Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical practitioners by providing equipment and training outside the normal parameters of many units. Even though the Set is currently being fielded to a variety of units, there are still personnel unaware of the Set and its capabilities. The goal of this article is to increase awareness of the existence of the program and to promote thought/discussion regarding the expansion of the capabilities of the Advanced Tactical Practitioner (ATP) beyond traditional medical skills. This program is best understood by first looking back to where it originated, and then examining where it is at present.

PTSD: An Elusive Definition

Kirkbride JF 12(2). 42 - 47 (Journal Article)

The Global War on Terrorism became the longest standing conflict in United States military history on June 7, 2010. It is estimated that 1.64 million U.S. troops have been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (ρ xix).1 Both conflicts have produced high numbers of casualties as the result of ground combat. The amount of casualties though has been relatively low compared to other conflicts. Some of this can be attributed to the advances in body armor and emergency medicine that allow many servicemembers to survive conditions that previously led to death. Conversely, surviving these situations leaves those same members with memories that are psychologically difficult to live with and cause chronic difficulties. Unlike an amputee, or the victim of severe burns where the signs and symptoms of their injuries are obvious, patients with psychological disorders can have a range of signs and symptoms common in many other mental disorders, making it difficult to diagnose and treat Soldiers suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A Comparison Of Direct Versus Indirect Laryngoscopic Visualization During Endotracheal Intubation Of Lightly Embalmed Cadavers Utilizing The Glide Scope®, Storz Medi Pack Mobile Imaging Systemt™ And The New Storz C-MAC™ Videolaryngoscope

Boedecker BH, Nicholas TA, Carpenter J, Leighton S, Bernhagen MA, Murray WB, Wadman MC 11(2). 21 - 29 (Journal Article)

background: Studies indicate that the skills needed to use video laryngoscope systems are easily learned by healthcare providers. This study compared several video laryngoscopic (VL) systems and a direct laryngoscope (DL) view when used by medical residents practicing intubation on cadavers. The video devices used included the Storz Medi Pack Mobile Imaging SystemTM, the Storz CMAC® VL System and the GlideScope®. methods:After Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine (UNMC EM) residents were recruited and given a brief pre-study informational period. The cadavers were lightly embalmed. The study subjects were asked to perform intubations on two cadavers using both DL and VL while using the three different VL systems. Procedural data was recorded for each attempt and pre and post experience perceptions were collected. results: N=14. All subjects reported their varied previous intubation experience. The average airway score using DL: for the Storz VL was 1.54 (SD = 0.576) and for the C-MAC was 1.46 (SD = 0.637). Success in intubation of the standard airway using DL was 93% versus a 100% success rate when intubating with indirect VL visualization. Conclusion: Based on our data, we believe that the incorporation of VL into cadaver airway management training provided an improved learning environment for the study residents. In our study, the resident subjects were 93% successful with DL intubation even though 50% had less than 30 intubations. As well, there was a 100% success rate when intubating with indirect VL visualization. In conclusion, the researchers believe this cadaver model incorporated with VL is a powerful tool which may help improve the overall learning curve for orotracheal intubation.

Advanced Airwaymanagement In Combat Casualties By Medics At The Point Of Injury: A Sub-Group Analysis Of The Reach Study

Mabry RL, Cuniowski P, Frankfurt A, Adams BD 11(2). 16 - 19 (Journal Article)

background: Optimal airway management protocols for the prehospital battlefield setting have not been defined. Airway management strategies in this environment must take into account the injury patterns, the environment and training requirements of military prehospital providers. Methods: This is a post-hoc, sub-group analysis of the Registry of Emergency Airways Arriving at Combat Hospitals or REACH database. This study examines only those patients who had advanced airways placed for trauma by an enlisted military medic at the point of injury. results: Twenty (100%) of the patients had a traumatic injury, 19 (95%) were male, and 13 (65%) had a gun shot wounds (GSWs) as the mechanism of injury. The majority, 12 (60%) patients had an esophageal-tracheal airway device placed. Of the remaining patients, four (20%) underwent endotracheal intubation, three (15%) had a surgical cricothyroidotomy performed, and one (5%) had a Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) placed. Seventeen (85%) of the twenty patients were dead on arrival or died shortly after arrival at the Combat Support Hospital (CSH). All of the patients that died had a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of three upon arrival. The Glasgow Coma Scale provides a score in the range 3-15; patients with scores of 3-8 are usually said to be in a coma. Three patients in this group survived to transfer from the CSH. Two of the transfers were lost to follow up, one with a GSW to the head and GCS of three, the other with a GCS of five from injuries sustained in an explosion. The third patient had a surgical cricothyroidotomy (SC) performed in the field for an expanding neck hematoma and recovered fully following surgery. conclusions: Casualties that tolerate invasive airway management without sedation in the context of trauma prognosticates a very high mortality. Airway management algorithms for military providers should reflect the casualties encountered on the battlefield not patients in cardiac arrest which predominate in the civilian EMS airway management practice. Further data are needed to understand the injuries encountered on the battlefield and to develop airway management solutions that optimize outcomes of patients with battlefield trauma.

Case Report: Acute Intermittent Porphyria In A 21-year-old Active Dutymale

Thompson WD 11(2). 52 - 56 (Journal Article)

Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) is one of a group of rare metabolic disorders arising from reduced activity of any of the enzymes in the heme biosynthetic pathway. The porphyrias can be very difficult for the practitioner to understand. There are several types of porphyrias, which have been known by various different names and are classified from different perspectives1 based on where the defective synthesis site is, or what the clinical manifestations are. Since practitioners rarely encounter this disease process, it is commonly not considered in the differential diagnoses. AIP can be confused with other causes of acute abdominal disorders such as appendicitis with peritonitis or nephrolithiasis. Patients with AIP typically give a history of constipation, fatigue, irritability, and insomnia that precede their acute attack. Symptoms occur intermittently in some patients with acute attacks lasting for several days or longer and were usually followed by complete recovery. This case report deals with an initial presentation of AIP in an otherwise healthy 21-year-old active duty male Soldier. Clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment are discussed as is a brief historical anecdote.

Interest Survey And Guide To Medical Schooladmissions For SOF Medics

True NA, Conway AC, Landis TM, Cairns CB, Cairns BA 11(2). 30 - 34 (Journal Article)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Special Warfare Training Group, Airborne (SWTG)(A) at Fort Bragg, NC began a bilateral partnership in 2009 to enhance medical training, care and innovation in austere environments. As a result of this partnership, instructors from the Joint Special Operations Training Center have been completing month-long rotations in the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and University of North Carolina Hospitals. This rotation has been successful and prompted us to assess the interest of Special Operation Forces (SOF) medics is in pursuing careers in healthcare, especially medical school. We surveyed the Special Forces Medical Sergeant (SFMS) listserve on Army Knowledge Online (AKO) to collect these data. This article will review SFMS survey responses and offer information on how to negotiate medical school admissions.

Military Static Line Parachuting Injuries Seen By The Airborne Battalion Provider

Healy ML 11(2). 45 - 51 (Journal Article)

Military static line parachuting exposes jumpers to a variety of novel methods of injury. Providers assigned to Airborne units need to develop and maintain a high index of suspicion when dealing with jump-related injuries. Understanding the incident rate and the mechanism of injury can help a provider better identify injuries based on the history of the incidence and develop that index of suspicion. Injuries can happen at almost any point during the jump process and each step has both common and unique injuries associated with it. In addition to identifying, managing, and treating the injuries involved, providing information on estimated time until return to duty can be beneficial for the commander. In the end, a provider's best tools for managing Airborne-related injuries are an understanding of Airborne operations, quality orthopedic skills, and a high index of suspicion.

F-Cell World Drive 2011: Are Tactical Medicine Principles Applicable to a Civilian Scenario?

Burkert MG, Kroencke A 12(1). 62 - 70 (Journal Article)

In 2011, a Mercedes Benz (MB) conducted the F-Cell World Drive tour around the globe in 125 days. While crossing Asia from SHANGHAI (CHINA) to HELSINKI (FINLAND) by car, en route medical care was provided by embedded emergency physicians. The designated route crossed four different countries, multiple climate zones, and challenging road conditions. There was only limited information provided about hospitals and emergency medical services within different hostnations in the planning phase, so we adopted tactical medical principles for mission planning and execution, as we were facing remote conditions and limitations to equipment, staffing, and patient transport.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ingestion as a TBI Prophylactic

Barringer N, Conkright W 12(3). 5 - 7 (Journal Article)

Given the hazardous nature of combat operations and training exercises (e.g. airborne operations) conducted by the United States military, servicemembers are at high risk for sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, almost a quarter of a million servicemembers have sustained a TBI.1 A large number of TBIs are a result of the concussive forces generated by improvised explosive devices (IED). A smaller number are a result of penetrating head wounds. Others may be caused by activities resulting in powerful acceleration, deceleration, or rotational forces. Therapies for treating TBI thus far have been limited. Much of the research conducted to date has focused on post-injury pharmacological interventions.2 Additionally, better protective equipment could help in preventing TBIs; however, these issues are outside the scope of this paper. A relatively new area of research is investigating prophylactic measures taken to lessen the effects of TBI. One such measure involves nutritional interventions and their effects on TBI severity. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to elucidate the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acid intake as it relates to TBI severity.

Guidelines For Implementing Medical Operations In The Counterinsurgency (COIN) Fight: A Framework For Engagement

Hamid S 11(2). 7 - 11 (Journal Article)

Several articles have been published over the last decade that describe the current role of medical operations (variously known as MEDCAPS- Medical Civic Action Programs, CMEs- Co-Operative Medical Engagements, etc.) in COIN and stability operations. Many of these articles focus on the experiences of healthcare and support personnel and their observations of inappropriately used U.S. Military healthcare resources. These medical assets were often used to provide fragmented and direct patient care to local populations. These operations were conducted in a non-sustainable fashion. Most importantly, poorly organized efforts damage COIN efforts and alienate local populations. Effective medical operations must be nested within the larger realm of overall COIN actions. In this paper, a fundamental framework is presented to align medical operations within COIN missions.

Global Health Language and Culture Competency

Beadling C, Maza J, Nakano G, Mahmood M, Jawad S, Al-Ameri A, Zuerlein S, Anderson W 12(1). 10 - 16 (Journal Article)

This article presents findings from a survey conducted to examine the availability of foreign language and culture training to Civil Affairs health personnel and the relevance of that training to the tasks they perform. Civil Affairs forces recognize the value of cross-cultural communication competence because their missions involve a significant level of interaction with foreign governments' officials, military, and civilians. Members of the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) who had a health-related military occupational specialty code were invited to participate in the survey. More than 45% of those surveyed were foreign language qualified. Many also received predeployment language and culture training specific to the area of deployment. Significantly more respondents reported receiving cultural training and training on how to work effectively with interpreters than having received foreign language training. Respondents perceived interpreters as important assets and were generally satisfied with their performance. Findings from the survey highlight a need to identify standard requirements for predeployment language training that focuses on medical and health terminology and to determine the best delivery platform(s). Civil Affairs health personnel would benefit from additional cultural training that focuses on health and healthcare in the country or region of deployment. Investing in the development of distance learning capabilities as a platform for delivering health-specific language and culture training may help ease the time and resources constraints that limit the ability of Civil Affairs health personnel to access the training they need.

Pressures Under 3.8cm, 5.1cm, and Side-by-Side 3.8cm-Wide Tourniquets

Wall PL, Weasel J, Rometti MR, Birkholz S, Gildemaster Y, Grulke L, Sahr SM, Buising CM 16(2). 28 - 35 (Journal Article)

Background: Applications of wider tourniquet are expected to occlude arterial flow at lower pressures. We examined pressures under 3.8cm-wide, 5.1cm-wide, and side-by-side-3.8cm-wide nonelastic strap-based tourniquets. Methods: Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets (RMT) were applied mid-thigh and mid-arm for 120 seconds with Doppler-indicated occlusion. The RMTs were a Single Tactical RMT (3.8cm-wide), a Wide RMT (5.1cm-wide), and Paired Tactical RMTs (7.6cm-total width). Tightening completion was measured at one-tooth advance past arterial occlusion, and paired applications involved alternating tourniquet tightening. Results: All 96 applications on the 16 recipients reached occlusion. Paired tourniquets had the lowest occlusion pressures (ρ < .05). All pressures are given as median mmHg, minimum-maximum mmHg. Thigh application occlusion pressures were Single 256, 219-299; Wide 259, 203-287; Distal of Pair 222, 183-256; and Proximal of Pair 184, 160-236. Arm application occlusion pressures were Single 230, 189-294; Wide 212, 161-258; Distal of Pair 204, 193-254, and Proximal of Pair 168, 148-227. Pressure increases with the final tooth advance were greater for the 2 teeth/cm Wide than for the 2.5 teeth/cm Tacticals (ρ < .05). Thigh final tooth advance pressure increases were Single 40, 33-49; Wide 51, 37-65; Distal of Pair 13, 1-35; and Proximal of Pair 15, 0-30. Arm final tooth advance pressure increases were Single 49, 41-71; Wide 63, 48-77; Distal of Pair 3, 0-14; and Proximal of Pair 23, 2-35. Pressure decreases occurred under all tourniquets over 120 seconds. Thigh pressure decreases were Single 41, 32-75; Wide 43, 28-62; Distal of Pair 25, 16-37; and Proximal of Pair 22, 15-37. Arm pressure decreases were Single 28, 21-43; Wide 26, 16-36; Distal of Pair 16, 12-35; and Proximal of Pair 12, 5-24. Occlusion losses before 120 seconds occurred predominantly on the thigh and with paired applications (ρ < .05). Occlusion losses occurred in six Paired thigh applications, two Single thigh applications, and one Paired arm application. Conclusions: Side-by-side tourniquets achieve occlusion at lower pressures than single tourniquets. Additionally, pressure decreases under tourniquets over time; so all tourniquet applications require reassessments for continued effectiveness.

Effects of a New Cooling Technology on Physical Performance in US Air Force Military Personnel

O'Hara R, Vojta C, Henry A, Caldwell L, Wade M, Swanton S, Linderman JK, Ordway J 16(2). 57 - 61 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Heat-related illness is a critical factor for military personnel operating in hyperthermic environments. Heat illness can alter cognitive and physical performance during sustained operations missions. Therefore, the primary purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of a novel cooling shirt on core body temperature in highly trained US Air Force personnel. Methods: Twelve trained (at least 80th percentile for aerobic fitness according to the American College of Sports Medicine, at least 90% on the US Air Force fitness test), male Air Force participants (mean values: age, 25 ± 2.8 years; height, 178 ± 7.9cm; body weight 78 ± 9.6kg; maximal oxygen uptake, 57 ± 1.9mL/kg/ min; and body fat, 10% ± 0.03%) completed this study. Subjects performed a 70-minute weighted treadmill walking test and 10-minute, 22.7kg sandbag shuttle test under two conditions: (1) "loaded" (shirt with cooling inserts) and (2) "unloaded" (shirt with no cooling inserts). Results: Core body temperature, exercise heart rate, capillary blood lactate, and ratings of perceived exertion were recorded. Core body temperature was lower (ρ = .001) during the 70-minute treadmill walking test in the loaded condition. Peak core temperature during the 70-minute walking test was also significantly lower (ρ = .038) in the loaded condition. Conclusion: This lightweight (471g), passive cooling technology offers multiple hours of sustained cooling and reduced core and peak body temperature during a 70-minute, 22.7kg weighted-vest walking test.

Fresh Whole Blood Transfusions In The Austere Environment

Bowling F, Kerr W 11(3). 3 - 37 (Journal Article)

The use of Fresh Whole Blood (FWB) transfusions can be a powerful tool for the Special Operations Forces (SOF) medic to treat uncontrolled hemorrhage. In fact, it may be the only tool currently available for hemostatic resuscitation, which along with hypotensive resuscitation, forms the basis for Damage Control Resuscitation (DCR). Until now, no comprehensive protocol has existed for conducting FWB transfusions in austere environments. The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) sponsored Curriculum Evaluation Board (CEB), which is responsible for authoring the Tactical Emergency Medical Protocols (TMEPs) has produced a protocol. This article serves as its introduction.

Tactical Lighting in Special Operations Medicine: Survey of Current Preferences

Calvano CJ, Enzenauer RW, Eisnor DL, LaPorta AJ 13(1). 15 - 21 (Journal Article)

Success in Special Operations Forces medicine (SOFMED) is dependent on maximizing visual capability without compromising the provider or casualty position when under fire. There is no single ideal light source suitable for varied SOFMED environments. We present the results of an online survey of Special Operations Medical Operators in an attempt to determine strengths and weaknesses of current systems. There was no consensus ideal hue for tactical illumination. Most Operators own three or more lights, and most lights were not night vision compatible. Most importantly, nearly 25% of respondents reported that lighting issues contributed to a poor casualty outcome; conversely, a majority (50 of 74) stated their system helped prevent a poor outcome. Based on the results of this initial survey, we can affirm that the design and choice of lighting is critical to SOFMED success. We are conducting ongoing studies to further define ideal systems for tactical applications including field, aviation, and marine settings.

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