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Clinical Encounters in Tactical Medicine: A Mission-Specific Analysis of the Maryland State Police Experience

Levy MJ, Smith R, Gerold KB, Alves D, Tang N 14(2). 98 - 104 (Journal Article)

Introduction: The Maryland State Police (MSP) Tactical Medical Unit (TMU) provides tactical emergency medical support (TEMS) through the deployment of specially trained state trooper tactical paramedics. The MSP TMU maintains an operational database of all mission related medical activity. This information constitutes a robust dataset derived from real world operational medicine experiences. Methods: A retrospective analysis of deidentified entries from the MSP TMU operational response database was performed for the 5-year period of 2007-2013. A summative analysis of missions, as well as a subgroup analysis of types of patients encountered, was performed to further characterize patient encounters based on the type of law enforcement tactical mission. Results: Analysis was performed on 1,042 tactical missions, of which there were 367 total patient encounters during the study period. The majority (67%; 246/367) of patients encountered were law enforcement tactical team personnel. The most frequently occurring mission, by type, was high-risk warrant service, accounting for 45% (470/1,042) of all missions in this series. Law enforcement training support missions comprised 25% (259/1,042), and 15% (157/1,042) of all missions in the database were medical standbys for law enforcement operations. The highest number of patient contacts were associated with training activities, resulting in 29% (108/367) of clinical encounters. The next most common mission associated with patient encounters was high-risk warrant service (24%; 88/367). Conclusion: The 5-year analysis conducted in this study represents the largest known retrospective assessment of a state police tactical medical program. Training activities resulted in the highest number of patient encounters by this program, with law enforcement/tactical team personnel comprising the majority of patient encounters. The majority of chief complaints encountered were non-life threatening and reinforce the need for expanded scope of practice training and enhanced treatment protocols for tactical medics.

An Integrated Approach for Special Operations

Deuster PA, Grunberg NE, O'Connor FG 14(2). 86 - 80 (Journal Article)

The Department of Defense (DoD) faces unprecedented challenges as the Nation confronts balancing a strong military to confront threats with the realities of diminishing financial resources. That each warfighter is a critical resource was underscored the Special Operations principal tenet "humans are more important than hardware." These challenges have popularized the term "human performance optimization" (HPO), which became ingrained in DoD around 2005. This article is the first in a new series relating to HPO, and we define the term and concept of HPO, describe other phrases used (e.g., performance enhancement; performance sustainment, performance restoration; and human performance modification). Last, we introduce an integrated model for HPO.

Infectious Diseases: Cholera

Burnett MW 14(2). 91 - 94 (Journal Article)

Vibrio cholerae is a comma-shaped, gram-negative rod that produces an enterotoxin, which causes an acute-onset diarrheal disease ranging in severity from mild to life threatening. Worldwide, there are an estimated 3-5 million cases per year, with more than 100,000 deaths. The disease remains a significant cause of death and illness in sub-Saharan Africa, southeast Asia (especially Bangladesh and India), and Haiti, and the infection should be recognized by the Special Operations Forces (SOF) medical provider.

Medical Operations of the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion

Downs JW 14(2). 66 - 73 (Journal Article)

The author gives a history of the formation of the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion and varied aspects of Ranger medical operations, including personnel composition of the medical detachment, the work of the battalion's surgeon during combat and noncombat operations, medical aspects of operational planning, available medical supplies, medical evacuation procedures, and preventive care.

Intra-articular Morphine versus Lidocaine for Acute Knee Pain

Graham RF, Hughes JR, Johnson AE, Cuenca PJ, Mosely T 14(2). 74 - 79 (Journal Article)

Objective: The authors conducted an unfunded randomized controlled trial approved by the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) Institutional Review Board (IRB) to determine the possible efficacy of intra-articular morphine for pain in acute knee injuries. Methods: Patients presenting to the emergency department at San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) from May 2012 to August 2013 with knee pain due to an acute injury were consented and then enrolled based on a convenience sample. Patients were randomized to one of three intervention arms (morphine, lidocaine, or morphine and lidocaine) and were blinded to the intervention. The respective solution was injected into the knee joint using standard techniques. The patients self-reported their levels of knee pain via a standard 100mm visual analogue scale (VAS) at the time of injection and 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours, and 24 hours postinjection. At 24 hours, the patients also reported the estimated amount of time they applied ice to the knee and the amount of oral analgesia consumed in the previous 24 hours. Results: The primary outcome was relative pain reduction as measured by the VAS. Secondary outcomes were the total cumulative use of ice and analgesics during the first 24 hours. Although this was a small study, the results showed a possible trend toward better pain control at all time intervals with injections containing morphine compared with lidocaine-only injections. Ice and oral analgesia usage was equivalent between the three intervention arms. Conclusion: Further investigation with a larger sample is required to explore whether these results are statistically significant and the possible superiority of intra-articular morphine to lidocaine for acute knee pain.

Fast-Roping: Potential Consequences of Vibrations for Sensation and Regulation of Movement

Goldmann J, Braunstein B, Sanno M, Kurzner S, Brüggemann G, Mester J 14(2). 80 - 83 (Journal Article)

Objectives: Short-term exposure (2-30 seconds) to segmental mechanical vibrations with frequencies between 20 and 80 Hz affects proprioception of the central nervous system and manual dexterity and strength of man. It could be supposed that during fast-roping, Soldiers are exposed to hand-arm vibrations caused by the geometry of the rope. After the maneuver, Soldiers are encouraged to operate with high precision (e.g., aiming and shooting) within a few seconds. For safety, disturbances of the sensory system should be strongly avoided. The purpose of the study was to determine the vibrations induced by different rope geometries during fast-roping. Methods: Eight men of the German Special Forces performed 10 fast-roping maneuvers with two different shaped ropes (slightly molded versus deeply molded). Vibration data and frequency spectrum for each trial were measured by using fast Fourier transformation. Results: The analysis of data showed that fast-roping with a slightly molded rope produced frequencies of up to 10 Hz, while the frequencies with a deeply molded rope accounted for 18 to 60 Hz. The ropes differed significantly (ρ < .001) in frequencies between 20 and 50 Hz. The exposure time of vibration lasted between 3 and 5 seconds. Conclusion: Considering the negative effects associated with vibrations, prudence is required when using deeply molded ropes due to the increased vibrations of about 20 Hz.

Treatment of Sea Urchin Injuries

King DR, Larentzakis A 14(2). 56 - 59 (Journal Article)

Sea urchin injuries can be sustained in a variety of environments in which U.S. Forces are operating, and familiarity with this uncommon injury can be useful. Injuries by sea urchin spines can occur during military activities close to rocky salt aquatic ecosystems via three mechanisms. The author describes these mechanisms and discusses the diagnosis, management, and treatment of sea urchin injuries.

Singapore's Perspective, Little India Riot: An Impetus to Develop Tactical Medicine Among Medics in Singapore?

Chew D, Hammesfahr R 14(2). 60 - 65 (Journal Article)

This is a report of the first riot in Singapore since 1969 and the subsequent emergency response from the police force and emergency medical services. Lessons learned are discussed, and recommendations for future medical response in incidents of civil unrest are made.

An Observational Study Assessing Completion Time and Accuracy of Completing the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Card by Combat Medic Trainees

Therien SP, Andrews JE, Nesbitt ME, Mabry RL 14(2). 38 - 45 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Prehospital care documentation is crucial to improving battlefield care outcomes. Developed by United States Army Ranger Special Operations Combat Medics (SOCMs), the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) is currently fielded to deployed units to record prehospital injury data. This study documents length of time and accuracy of U.S. Army Combat Medic trainees in completing the minimum preestablished required fields on the TCCC card, establishing a baseline for point-of-injury cards. Design and Methods: This was a prospective observational study in which U.S. Army combat medic trainees were timed while recording data on the TCCC card in both the classroom and simulated combat environment. We hypothesized that trainees could complete the TCCC card in less than 1 minute with 90% or greater accuracy. Results: We enrolled 728 U.S. Army Combat Medic trainees in the study during May-June 2011 at Fort Sam Houston, TX. We observed an average TCCC card completion time of less than 1 minute with greater than 90% accuracy in the unstressed classroom environment but an increase to nearly 2 minutes on average and a decrease to 85% accuracy in the simulated combat environment. Conclusion: Results imply that the TCCC card is well designed to quickly and accurately record prehospital combat injury information. Further investigation and future studies may compare other prehospital data collection methods with the TCCC card in terms of timely and accurate data collection.

Evaluation of Commercially Available Traction Splints for Battlefield Use

Studer NM, Grubb SM, Horn GT, Danielson PD 14(2). 46 - 55 (Journal Article)

Background: Femoral fracture is a common battlefield injury with grave complications if not properly treated. Traction splinting has been proved to decrease morbidity and mortality in battlefield femur fractures. However, little standardization of equipment and training exists within the United States Armed Forces. Currently, four traction splints that have been awarded NATO Stock Numbers are in use: the CT-6 Leg Splint, the Kendrick Traction Device (KTD), the REEL Splint (RS), and the Slishman Traction Splint (STS). Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the differences between the four commercially available traction devices sold to the U.S. Government. Methods: After standardized instruction, subjects were timed and evaluated in the application of each of the four listed splints. Participant confidence and preferences were assessed by using Likert-scaled surveys. Free response remarks were collected before and after timed application. Results: Subjects had significantly different application times on the four devices tested (analysis of variance [ANOVA], ρ < .01). Application time for the STS was faster than that for both the CT-6 (t-test, ρ < .0028) and the RS (ρ < .0001). Subjects also rated the STS highest in all post-testing subjective survey categories and reported significantly higher confidence that the STS would best treat a femoral fracture (ρ < .00229). Conclusions: The STS had the best objective performance during testing and the highest subjective evaluation by participants. Along with its ability to be used in the setting of associated lower extremity amputation or trauma, this splint is the most suitable for battlefield use of the three devices tested.

Warzone Stressor Exposure, Unit Support, and Emotional Distress Among U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen

Armstrong EL, Bryan CJ, Stephenson JA, Bryan AO, Morrow CE 14(2). 26 - 34 (Journal Article)

Objectives: Combat exposure is associated with increased mental health symptom severity among military personnel, whereas unit support is associated with decreased severity. However, to date no studies have examined these relationships among U.S. Air Force pararescuemen (PJs), who have a unique and specialized career field that serves in both medical and combatant capacities. Design: Crosssectional self-report survey. Methods: Self-reported survey data regarding depression symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, perceived unit support, and exposure to traditional combat experiences (e.g., firefights) and medical consequences of combat (e.g., injuries and human remains) were collected from 194 PJs in seven rescue squadrons. Results: Levels of combat exposure were compared with previously published findings from combat units, and levels of medical exposure were compared with previously published findings among military medical professionals. Medical exposure intensity showed a stronger relationship with PTSD severity (ß = .365, p = .018) than with combat exposure intensity (ß = .136, ρ = .373), but neither combat nor medical exposure was associated with depression severity (ßs < .296, ρs > .164). Unit support was associated with less severe PTSD (ß = -.402, ρ < .001) and depression (ß = -.259, ρ = .062) symptoms and did not moderate the effects of combat or medical exposure. Conclusions: Medical stressors contribute more to PTSD among PJs than do traditional combat stressors. Unit support is associated with reduced PTSD and depression severity regardless of intensity of warzone exposure among PJs.

Comparison of Muscle Paralysis After Intravenous and Intraosseous Administration of Succinylcholine in Swine

Loughren MJ, Kilbourn J, Worth K, Burgert J, Gegel B, Johnson D 14(2). 35 - 37 (Journal Article)

Aim: To compare the onset and duration of intravenous (IV) and intraosseous (IO) administration of succinylcholine in swine. Methods: Electromyographic (EMG) amplitudes were used to characterize muscle paralysis following administration of succinylcholine via the IV or IO route in four Yorkshire-cross swine. Results: The onset of action of succinylcholine was statistically longer after IO administration (0.97 ± 0.40) compared with IV administration (0.55 ± 0.26) (ρ = .048). Duration of action was unaffected by route of administration: IO, 11.4 ± 4.2, and IV, 12.9 ± 3.8 (ρ = .65). Conclusions: Succinylcholine can be effectively administered via the IO route. However, an increased dose may be necessary when administering succinylcholine via the IO route to achieve the same rapid onset as standard IV dosing.

Preparedness for Resuscitation at a Geographically Isolated Army Troop Medical Clinic: Lessons From Camp Blanding, Florida

Studer NM, Horsley GW, Godbee DC 14(2). 14 - 19 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Many Servicemembers rely on nondeployed Role 1 facilities, such as troop medical clinics, as their primary source of healthcare. At geographically isolated military installations, these facilities are the "only game in town" for medical care. Servicemembers may present to these facilities with emergent conditions, regardless of designed intent of the facility or the wishes of staff. The U.S. Army Troop Medical Clinic, Camp Blanding is such a facility. Methods: The clinic was reorganized with a 5S approach, streamlining supply, equipment, and workflow processes. This was accomplished to allow the facility to not only improve its general delivery of care but also ensure capability to handle at least one medical or trauma resuscitation. Equipment, disposable supplies, documentation, and staff training were addressed.Results/ Discussion/ Conclusion: Despite facility intention, lack of supplies/equipment, or staff inexperience with emergency care, an acute ill or injured Servicemember must be stabilized at the nondeployed Role 1 facility while awaiting transport to a higher level of care. This expectation is the same as that of deployed Role 1 facilities. A cost-savings can also be realized when minor "emergencies" are handled in-house.

Safety and Effectiveness Evidence of SAM® Junctional Tourniquet to Control Inguinal Hemorrhage in a Perfused Cadaver Model

Johnson JE, Sims K, Hamilton DJ, Kragh JF 14(2). 21 - 25 (Journal Article)

Background: Hemorrhage from the trunk-appendage junctions is a common, preventable cause of death on the battlefield. The recently U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-cleared SAM® Junctional Tourniquet (SJT) was designed to control out-of-hospital inguinal and axillary hemorrhage. The purpose of the present study was to provide safety and effectiveness data associated with use of the SJT. Such data provided support for regulatory clearance. Methods: The SJT was tested in a perfused cadaver experiment simulating inguinal or axillary wound hemorrhage. Results: No safety problems or tissue damage occurred, and flow normalized promptly after tourniquet removal. During SJT use, an average of 107mmHg occluded the distal external iliac artery in an average of 7 seconds of inflation time; manual pressure as a control averaged 139mmHg. In SJT use, an average of 739mmHg occluded the axillary artery in an average of 5 seconds of inflation time; manual pressure as a control averaged 1237mmHg. The control was a referent that achieved results that were similar in one body area but different in the other; both findings indicate the device is as safe as, if not safer than, manual compression. Conclusion: The SJT was shown to be safe and effective in hemorrhage control in a cadaver model for both the axillary and inguinal areas. The SJT's Target Compression Devices required pressures approximately equal to or lower than manual pressure to achieve hemostasis in these junctional regions.

Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet Controls Hemorrhage From a Gunshot Wound of the Left Groin

Croushorn J 14(2). 6 - 8 (Journal Article)

"Junctional hemorrhage" is defined as bleeding from the areas at the junction of the trunk and its appendages. This is an important cause of potentially preventable deaths on the battlefield and a difficult condition to treat in the civilian prehospital setting. Having a solution to definitively treat the condition decreases the mortality and morbidity of these injuries. The Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet™ is (1) a Food and Drug Administration-cleared device that is currently indicated for pelvic, inguinal, and axillary bleeding; (2) the only junctional tourniquet with an indication for pelvic bleeding; (3) the only junctional tourniquet reported with a successful axillary use; and (4) effective at lower tissue pressures than other junctional tourniquets available.

Corneal Foreign Body Management at a Role 1 Flight Line Aid Station

Calvano CJ, Enzenauer RW, Wenkel JW, Henke JL, Rohrbough CK, Miller SL, Howerton PH, Schreffler JP 14(2). 9 - 13 (Journal Article)

Eye injuries are common in forward areas of operations. Definitive diagnosis and care may be limited not by provider skill but rather by available equipment. The ability to treat simple trauma such as corneal foreign bodies at the Role 1 level has advantages including rapid return to duty, decreased cost of treatment, and, most important, decreased risk of delayed care. We propose the device such as a hand-held portable slit lamp should be made available for appropriate Special Operations Medical Forces (SOFMED) or aviation providers.

Giant Basal Cell Carcinoma

Rivard SC, Crandall ML, Gibbs NF 14(1). 99 - 102 (Journal Article)

Servicemembers are often exposed to extreme environments with sun exposure, often laying the foundation for future skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common of skin cancers. We present the case of a 36-year-old male active duty Seabee who presents with a left shoulder plaque that initially started as an erythematous papule but has now increased to greater than 6cm in the past 10 years and is diagnosed as giant basal cell carcinoma (GBCC). Although only 0.5% to 1% of BCCs develop into GBCCs, there is the potential for metastasis and even death. This article addresses the concerning and potentially fatal diagnosis of GBCC, including your initial impressions and differential diagnoses, available treatment options, and ways to prevent it from ever occurring in our military population.

First Case Report of SAM® Junctional Tourniquet Use in Afghanistan to Control Inguinal Hemorrhage on the Battlefield

Klotz JK, Leo M, Andersen BL, Nkodo AA, Garcia G, Wichern AM, Chambers MJ, Gonzalez ON, Pahle MU, Wagner JA, Robinson JB, Kragh JF 14(2). 1 - 5 (Journal Article)

Junctional hemorrhage, bleeding that occurs at the junction of the trunk and its appendages, is the most common preventable cause of death from compressible hemorrhage on the battlefield. As of January 2014, four types of junctional tourniquets have been developed and cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Successful use of the Abdominal Aortic Tourniquet (AAT™) and Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC™) has already been reported. We report here the first known prehospital use of the SAM® Junctional Tourniquet (SJT) for a battlefield casualty with inguinal junctional hemorrhage.

Surveillance for Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Dirofilaria immitis in Dogs From Three Cities in Colombia

McCown ME, Monterroso VH, Cardona W 14(1). 86 - 90 (Journal Article)

Objective: Emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases are made up in large proportion by vector-borne diseases (VBD). Dogs are parasitized by disease vectors such as ticks and mosquitoes, making dogs adequate reservoirs for zoonoses. Risk of exposure to VBD exists for the U.S. military personnel and Military Working Dogs (MWD) when deployed globally. The importance of canine VBD surveillance relates to veterinary and public health significance for the host nations as well as for the U.S. troops and MWDs. The objective of this work was to survey dogs from the cities of Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena in Colombia to determine the prevalence of heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis), ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), and anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum). Methods: Canine (n = 498) blood samples (1-3mL) were collected during July 2011 from Medellin (n = 175), Barranquilla (n = 223), and Cartagena (n = 100) and were tested on-site using IDEXX SNAP® 4Dx® Test Kits. Results: The overall combined sample prevalence of E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, D. immitis, and B. burgdorferi was 62%, 33%, 1.6%, and 0%, respectively. In Medellin, 26% of the samples were positive for E. canis, 12% for A. phagocytophilum, and 0% for D. immitis. In Barranquilla, sample prevalence for E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, and D. immitis was 83%, 40%, and 2%, respectively. In Cartagena, E. canis, A. phagocytophilum, and D. immitis prevalence was 80%, 51%, and 3%, respectively. Conclusion: E. canis and A. phagocytophilum are present in all three surveyed cities. There is a higher sample prevalence for E. canis and A. phagocytophilum than for D. immitis. In addition, the prevalence for these organisms is higher in Barranquilla and Cartagena than in Medellin. Overall, this study emphasizes the value of surveillance for VBDs in order to determine disease prevalence, develop risk assessments, and implement control measures.

Preventing Ring Associated Injuries: Think Twice About Wearing That Ring

Levy MJ, Gerold KB 14(1). 93 - 95 (Journal Article)

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