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Deployed Assessment and Management of mTBI Casualties

Garfin B 13(3). 51 - 55 (Journal Article)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have placed a spotlight on screening, evaluation, and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as concussion. The author presents a mass casualty case in which a Ranger company medical section assessed and managed 30 Servicemembers (SM) diagnosed with concussion. Through the process of treating these Servicemembers, a consolidated checklist was created based on existing Department of Defense, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) guidelines. During this and subsequent clinical encounters, utilization of this checklist resulted in efficient identification of concussed personnel, appropriate treatment, and documentation.

MEDEVAC Use of Ketamine for Postintubation Transport

Grumbo R, Hoedebecke KL, Berry-Caban CS, Mazur A 13(3). 36 - 41 (Journal Article)

The use of traditional sedatives and analgesics in intubated patients can have undesired hemodynamic consequences with increases in sedation exacerbating hypotension and potentially avoidable morbidity and mortality. This project compared 50 intubated patients using traditional analgesics and sedatives to 20 intubated patients using ketamine with the hypothesis that there would be a significant difference in subsequent blood pressure drop between the two groups. Though the results did not prove to be statistically significant within this small study, the authors did observe a trend toward significance. Additionally, some hypotensive patients had traditional analgesics and sedatives withheld altogether, which did not occur within the ketamine group. Due to the reduced side-effect profile, deployed medical providers should have increased training with and use of ketamine in the pre-hospital setting.

Digital Intubation: The Two-Fingered Solution to Securing an Airway

Cashwell MJ, Wilcoxen AC, Meghoo CA 13(3). 42 - 44 (Journal Article)

Digital intubation is a useful technique that is rarely taught in conventional airway management courses. With limited equipment and minimal training, a Special Operations Forces (SOF) medic can use this technique to intubate an unconscious patient with a high degree of success. The objectives of this report are to (1) learn the sequence of events for successful digital intubation, (2) recognize and appreciate the advantages and limitations of this technique, and (3) appreciate the requirements for establishing a unit-level training program.

Rigid Eye Shields: A Critical Gap in the Individual First Aid Kit

Brunstetter T, Diaz GY, Wasner C, Hart S, Burrows S 13(3). 26 - 28 (Journal Article)

From 5% to 22% of all U.S. Department of Defense combat casualties between 2001 and 2010 suffered some form of ocular trauma. Ocular injuries have an inordinately dramatic impact on return to duty, retention, and reintegration; only 25% of warfighters with severe ocular trauma return to duty. After a traumatic ocular event, the likelihood of saving an eye and preserving vision depends on several factors, especially the treatment quality at the point of injury. Every major organization associated with combat casualty care (e.g., the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and the Department of Defense/VA Vision Center of Excellence) emphasizes the importance of placing a rigid eye shield on known/suspected eye injuries at point of injury. On the battlefield, there is no better way to protect an injured eye from further damage than with an eye shield, but shields are not readily available in individual first aid kits. Therefore, it is highly recommended that each Service rapidly integrate at least one rigid eye shield into every individual first aid kit, making them immediately available to every warfighter.

Design and Demonstration of a Battery-Less Fluid Warmer for Combat

Ndao S, Jensen KF, Velmahos GC, King DR 13(3). 31 - 36 (Journal Article)

Background: Prehospital battlefield hypothermia remains an issue, with cold fluid resuscitation likely being a significant contributor. Currently, no prehospital battlefield technology exists to warm intravenous resuscitation fluids. Existing commercial fluid-warming technologies are either inadequate or unreliable or have an unacceptable weight and size, making them inappropriate for the austere combat environment. We propose the creation of a battery-less, flameless, portable, low- weight, small, chemically powered fluid warmer for the battlefield. Methods: A magnesium-based exothermic chemical reaction was used as the sole heating source. A low-weight, small insulated container was created to contain the reaction. The chemical reaction was manipulated to sustain fluid heating as long as required. Results: The exothermic reaction was used to boil a Fluorinert ™ liquid within an insulated container that heats resuscitation fluid passing through the heat exchanger. A working prototype device, 9 inches in length and 4 inches in diameter, was engineered and tested. Warming was maintained over a variety of clinically relevant flow rates. Conclusion: A chemically based, safe, battery-less, flameless, lightweight fluid warmer was created. This technology could represent a significant remote capability currently unavailable on the battlefield.

Abdominal Aortic Tourniquet Controls Junctional Hemorrhage From a Gunshot Wound of the Axilla

Croushorn J, McLester J, Thomas G, McCord SR 13(3). 1 - 4 (Journal Article)

Junctional hemorrhage, bleeding from the areas at the junction of the trunk and its appendages, is a difficult problem in trauma. These areas are not amenable to regular tourniquets as they cannot fit to give circumferential pressure around the extremity. Junctional arterial injuries can rapidly lead to death by exsanguination, and out-of-hospital control of junctional bleeding can be lifesaving. The present case report describes an offlabel use of the Abdominal Aortic Tourniquet™ in the axilla and demonstrates its safety and effectiveness of stopping hemorrhage from a challenging wound. To our knowledge, the present report is the first human use of a junctional tourniquet to control an upper extremity junctional hemorrhage.

Tragedy Into Drama: An American History of Tourniquet Use in the Current War

Kragh JF, Walters TJ, Westmoreland T, Miller RM, Mabry RL, Kotwal RS, Ritter BA, Hodge DC, Greydanus DJ, Cain JS, Parsons DL, Edgar EP, Harcke HT, Baer DG, Dubick MA, Blackbourne LH, Montgomery HR, Holcomb JB, Butler FK 13(3). 5 - 25 (Journal Article)

Background: Although the scientific results of recent tourniquet advances in first aid are well recorded, the process by which tourniquet use advances were made is not. The purpose of the present report is to distill historical aspects of this tourniquet story during the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to aid scientists, leaders, and clinicians in the process of development of future improvements in first aid. Methods: The process of how developments of this tourniquet story happened recently is detailed chronologically and thematically in a "who did what, when, where, why, and how" way. Results: Initially in these wars, tourniquets were used rarely or were used as a means of last resort. Such delay in tourniquet use was often lethal; subsequently, use was improved incrementally over time by many people at several organizations. Three sequential keys to success were (1) unlocking the impasse of enacting doctrinal ideas already approved, (2) reaching a critical density of both tourniquets and trained users on the battlefield, and (3) capturing their experience with tourniquets. Other keys included translating needs among stakeholders (such as casualties, combat medics, providers, trainers, and decision-makers) and problem-solving logistic snags and other issues. Eventually, refined care was shown to improve survival rates. From all medical interventions evidenced in the current wars, the tourniquet broke rank and moved to the forefront as the prehospital medical breakthrough of the war. Conclusion: The recorded process of how tourniquet developments in prehospital care occurred may be used as a reference for parallel efforts in first aid such as attempts to improve care for airway and breathing problems.

Medical Mission to Dominican Republic: One Dermatology Group's Experiences

Ahmed A, Peine S 13(2). 69 - 74 (Journal Article)

The intents of this article are to share our experiences during a medical mission in the Dominican Republic and to provide the reader with a cross-sectional view of conditions seen and an overview of interesting and challenging cases encountered. We also discuss treatments and techniques used and share lessons learned.

The Tactical Combat Casualty Care Casualty CardTCCC Guidelines - Proposed Change 1301

Kotwal RS, Butler FK, Montgomery HR, Brunstetter T, Diaz GY, Kirkpatrick JW, Summers NL, Shackelford S, Holcomb JB, Bailey JA 13(2). 82 - 87 (Journal Article)

Optimizing trauma care delivery is paramount to saving lives on the battlefield. During the past decade of conflict, trauma care performance improvement at combat support hospitals and forward surgical teams in Afghanistan and Iraq has increased through Joint Trauma System and DoD Trauma Registry data collection, analysis, and rapid evidence-based adjustments to clinical practice guidelines. Although casualties have benefitted greatly from a trauma system and registry that improves hospital care, still lacking is a comprehensive and integrated system for data collection and analysis to improve performance at the prehospital level of care. Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) based casualty cards, TCCC after action reports, and unit-based prehospital trauma registries need to be implemented globally and linked to the DoD Trauma Registry in a seamless manner that will optimize prehospital trauma care delivery.

Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance in Puerto Rico: Pathogen Prevalence Rates in Canines - Implications for Public Health and the U.S. Military - Applying the One Health Concept

McCown ME, Opel T, Grzeszak B 13(2). 59 - 63 (Journal Article)

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) make up a large number of emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases. Vectors such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes parasitize dogs, thus making canine populations adequate reservoirs for infectious disease and zoonoses. The U.S. military deploys its personnel and Military Working Dogs (MWDs) throughout the world with possible risk of exposure to VBDs. Canine VBDs continue to have veterinary and public health significance for the host nations as well as for deployed U.S. personnel and MWDs. Thus, ongoing and consistent disease surveillance is an essential component to preserve health. The purpose of this study was to survey dogs from multiple cities and varying regions throughout Puerto Rico to determine the prevalence of ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis), anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum), Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), and heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis) from May to July 2012. Canine blood samples (1-3 ml) from the cities of San Juan (n = 629), Guaynabo (n = 50), Ponce (n = 20) and Vieques Island (n = 53) were obtained and tested on-site using an IDEXX SNAP® 4Dx® (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test kit. Prevalence for single or multiple disease status was calculated for each site. The overall period prevalence of VBD in Puerto Rico in the shelter population was 57.7% (71/123). In Guaynabo, the VBD prevalence was 30% (15/50); 2 (13%) of these positive dogs had VBD co-infection. In the coastal port city of Ponce, it was 60% (12/20); 6 (50%) dogs were infected by two or more VBDs. On Vieques Island, it was 83% (44/53); 27 (61%) dogs were coinfected. Conversely, samples collected at the Fort Buchanan Veterinary Clinic in the capitol city of San Juan resulted in a VBD prevalence of 8.9% (56/629). Lyme disease was not detected in any sample. This study showed the presence of D. immitis, E. canis, and A. phagocytophilum in all four sites of Puerto Rico, emphasizing the value of surveillance for VBDs to determine disease prevalence, complete risk assessments, and implement timely preventive medicine and other preventive measures. The lower VBD prevalence rate in the canine samples from Fort Buchanan demonstrates the value of responsible pet ownership and importance of preventive medicine and public health.

Dengue Infections

Burnett MW 13(2). 64 - 68 (Journal Article)

Background: Dengue fever is one of the most common mosquito-borne viral illnesses in the world. It is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. Dengue infections are caused by four antigenically distinct but closely related viruses (DEN 1-4). Infection with any one of the viruses is thought to provide lifetime immunity to future infections from the same virus but only short-term cross-immunity to the other types, leading to the possibility of secondary infections. Dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome (DHF/DSS), more severe types of dengue infections, sometimes result when an individual is subsequently infected with a second virus serotype during their lifetime. The most commonly accepted theory for the development of these more severe dengue infections is that of antibody-dependent enhancement, although other factors likely play a role. Infections complicated by DHF/DSS in areas where dengue is endemic are most often seen in the later half of the first year of life, when waning maternal antibodies may enhance the development of a more severe infection, and in young school-age children experiencing secondary infections. Widespread infections are most commonly seen during the rainy season of endemic areas when the breeding habitat of the Aedes mosquito is most favorable.

Priorities for a 21st-Century Defense: Aligning U.S. Army Environmental Science and Engineering Officer Resources with the Department of Defense Strategic Guidance

Licina D, Rufolo D, Story M 13(2). 38 - 43 (Journal Article)

The recently published Department of Defense (DoD) strategic guidance highlights the need to "shape a joint force for the future." Supporting requirements to shape the joint force while the overall DoD force structure is reduced will be challenging. Fortunately, based on its unique training and experience, the Army Environmental Science and Engineering Officer (ESEO) profession is positioned today to fill anticipated joint public health requirements. Obtaining the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) approval to meet these requirements will have near-term consequences for the ESEO profession as some existing (albeit antiquated) authorizations may go unfilled. However, long-term dividends for the Medical Service Corps (MSC), AMEDD, Army, and DoD will be achieved by realigning critical resources to future joint and interagency requirements. Assigning ESEOs now to organizations such as the Theater Special Operations Commands (TSOCs), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with perceived and real joint force health protection/public health requirements through unique means will ensure our profession remains relevant today and supports the joint force of tomorrow.

CBRNE TC3: A Hybrid Approach to Casualty Care in the CBRNE Environment

Strain JE 13(2). 44 - 53 (Journal Article)

The implementation of Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines for the Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom contingency operations has dramatically reduced preventable combat deaths. A study of these principles and their application to medical treatment in the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE), weapons of mass destruction (WMD) environment is presented as a potential readiness and force multiplier for units engaged in this area of operations. Preparing medical operators for support of WMD sampling and mitigation missions requires extensive preventive medicine and post-exposure and downrange trauma threat preparedness. Training and equipping CBRN operators with treatment skills and appropriate interventional material requires pre-implementation planning specific to WMD threats (e.g., anthrax, radiation, organophosphates, and contaminated trauma). A scenario-based study reveals the tactics, techniques, and procedures for training, resourcing, and fielding the CBRN operator of the future.

Recent Considerations in Tactical Medicine

Rush SC 13(2). 54 - 58 (Journal Article)

A philosophical approach to tactical and remote medicine should be reflected in the gear (e.g., equipment and technology) chosen as well as the protocols used. The gear needs to be lightweight and small volume. As much as possible, it should have multiple uses, and there should be no redundancy with other items. When modern technology (e.g., hemostatic gauze, pulse oximeters, etc.) allows it to have unique applications, it should be used. Otherwise, if simple basic gear works, it should remain a staple (e.g., cravats). Protocols should reflect the goal to provide thorough care in an efficient manner. They should be straightforward and scaleable and be capable of being trained in a fashion that will allow them to become automatic under duress. These guiding principles establish a basis from which the Special Operations Forces/Tactical Medic or PJ can operate to maximal effectiveness. This article will describe current thinking in Pararescue as it relates to gear and protocols.

An Introduction to Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Medicine

Smith MB 13(2). 25 - 32 (Journal Article)

When an individual finds himself/herself in a survival, evasion, resistance, or escape (SERE) scenario, the ability to treat injuries/illnesses can be the difference between life and death. SERE schools are responsible for preparing military members for these situations, but the concept of SERE medicine is not particularly well defined. To provide a comprehensive working description of SERE medicine, operational and training components were examined. Evidence suggests that SERE medicine is diverse, injury/illness patterns are situationally dependent, and treatment options often differ from conventional clinical medicine. Ideally, medical lessons taught in SERE training are based on actual documented events. Unfortunately, the existing body of literature is dated and does not appear to be expanding. In this article, four distinct facets of SERE medicine are presented to establish a basis for future discussion and research. Recommendations to improve SERE medical curricula and data-gathering processes are also provided.

Endovascular Resuscitation Techniques for Severe Hemorrhagic Shock and Traumatic Arrest in the Presurgical Setting

True NA, Siler S, Manning JE 13(2). 33 - 37 (Journal Article)

Novel aortic catheter-based resuscitation interventions aimed at control of noncompressible torso hemorrhage and resuscitative perfusion are undergoing active research and development. These methods have been reported as resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta, selective aortic arch perfusion, and profound hypothermia (emergency preservation and resuscitation). These interventions are advanced options to treat noncompressible torso hemorrhage and hemorrhage-induced traumatic cardiac arrest in the presurgical environment. However, to achieve maximum potential benefit, such interventions need to be initiated as soon as possible. This means that these advanced interventions should be adapted for use in austere military treatment facilities and, when feasible, initiated at the point of injury. This report argues for the feasibility of advanced endovascular resuscitation interventions in the austere military theater.

No Slackers in Tourniquet Use to Stop Bleeding

Polston RW, Clumpner BR, Kragh JF, Jones JA, Dubick MA, Baer DG 13(2). 12 - 19 (Journal Article)

Background: Tourniquets on casualties in war have been loose in 4%-9% of uses, and such slack risks death from uncontrolled bleeding. A tourniquet evidence gap persists if there is a mechanical slack-performance association. Objective: The purpose of the present study was to determine the results of tourniquet use with slack in the strap versus no slack before windlass turning, in order to develop best practices. Methods: The authors used a tourniquet manikin 254 times to measure tourniquet effectiveness, windlass turns, time to stop bleeding, and blood volume lost at 5 degrees of strap slack (0mm, 25mm, 50mm, 100mm, and 200mm maximum). Results: When comparing no slack (0mm) to slack (any positive amount), there were increases with slack in windlass turns (ρ < .0001, 3-fold), time to stop bleeding (ρ < .0001, 2-fold), and blood volume lost (ρ < .0001, 2-fold). When comparing no slack to 200mm slack, the median results showed an increase in slack for windlass turns (ρ < .0001), time to stop bleeding (ρ < .0001), and blood volume lost (ρ < .0001). Conclusions: Any slack presence in the strap impaired tourniquet performance. More slack had worse results. Trainers can now instruct tourniquet users with concrete guidance.

Quality of Care Assessment in Forward Detection of Extremity Compartment Syndrome in War

King DR, Kragh JF, Blackbourne LH 13(2). 20 - 24 (Journal Article)

Background: Recent efforts to improve the quality of care in the Afghanistan theater have focused on extremity compartment syndrome, a common, disabling, and costly problem. To identify opportunities to improve care, the present survey was undertaken to observe the use of two standard methods-the traditional, improvised method and the common, off-the-shelf method-for determining intracompartmental pressures in the lower extremities of combat casualties. Methods: As part of a quality of care improvement effort during Operation Enduring Freedom, all combat casualties presenting to a forward surgical team at Forward Operating Base Shank from August to November 2011 with lower-extremity major trauma were evaluated for signs and symptoms of compartment syndrome. Results: Ten casualties had pressure measurement surveyed simultaneously using both methods. A two one-sided test analysis demonstrated a mean difference of -0.13 (90% confidence interval, -0.36 to 0.096), which indicated that the methods were similar. A repeated-measures analysis yielded a p value of .72, indicating no statistical difference between the methods. The receiver operating characteristic curve demonstrated excellent agreement within the prespecified limits (±2mm Hg, area under the curve 1.0), which indicated that the methods were similar. Conclusion: The main finding of the quality of care effort was that clinicians received similar information from use of two standard methods for far forward measurement of pressures to detect extremity compartment syndrome. This finding may help clinicians improve the quality of care in the theater in detecting, diagnosing, and monitoring compartment syndrome.

Delayed Diagnosis of Pelvic hematoma without Fracture Due to Military Parachuting

Cunningham CW, Kotwal RS, Kragh JF 13(2). 4 - 7 (Case Reports)

The U.S. military has been conducting static-line parachute jumps for nearly a century. Beginning with World War II, military forces have also employed full-scale airborne operations as a method for insertion into combat. Through the years, injuries from blunt trauma as a result of static-line parachute jumps have evolved little with the refinement of equipment, training, and tactics. Parachute jumps continue to invoke primarily musculoskeletal injuries, especially to the lower extremities, back, neck, and head. These injuries are usually straightforward in their presentation and diagnosis. We describe the delayed diagnosis of a pelvic hematoma due to an uncommon blunt trauma jump injury. The purpose of this case report is to increase awareness of injury patterns during paratrooper operations, as well as to review the diagnosis and management of occult hemorrhage. Specific objectives for the readers are to (1) know the common injury types and patterns for airborne operations, (2) know the descent rate of T-10C/D parachutes and factors influencing the rate, (3) recognize signs and symptoms associated with a pelvic hematoma, and (4) recognize common complications resulting from a pelvic hematoma.

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