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Cognitive Agility as a Factor in Human Performance Optimization

Ross J, Miller L, Deuster PA 18(3). 86 - 91 (Journal Article)

Cognitive agility reflects the capacity of an individual to easily move back and forth between openness and focus. The concept is being translated into a tool to help train leaders to perform well in the "dynamic decision-making context." Cognitive agility training (CAT) has the potential to increase emotional intelligence by improving an individual's ability to toggle between highly focused states to levels of broad, outward awareness, which should enable dynamic decision-making and enhance personal communication skills. Special Operations Forces (SOF) Operators must work in rapidly evolving, complex environments embedded with multiple high-risk factors. Generally, success in these operational environments requires the ability to maintain highly focused states. However, SOF Operators must also be able to transition rapidly back to their roles within their families, where a more outwardly aware state is needed to allow flexibility in emotional responses. CAT addresses these seemingly conflicting requirements. Successful CAT must reflect the methodologies and culture already familiar within the SOF community (i.e., "live" scenario-based activities) to replicate challenges they may encounter when operationally deployed and when at home. This article provides an overview of cognitive agility, the potential benefits, applications that could be used for training SOF Operators to improve their cognitive agility to optimize performance, and sample training scenarios. The issue of what metrics to use is also discussed.

The Combat Application Tourniquet Versus the Tactical Mechanical Tourniquet

Beaven A, Ballard M, Sellon E, Briard R, Parker PJ 18(3). 75 - 78 (Journal Article)

Background: Exsanguination from limb injury is an important battlefield consideration that is mitigated with the use of emergency tourniquets. The Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T®) is the current British military standard tourniquet. Methods: We tested the self-application of a newer tourniquet system, the Tactical Mechanical Tourniquet (TMT), against self-application of the C-A-T. A total of 24 healthy British military volunteers self-applied the C-A-T and the TMT to their mid thigh in a randomized, sequential manner. Popliteal artery flow was monitored with a portable ultrasound machine, and time until arterial occlusion was measured. Pain scores were also recorded. Results The volunteers allowed testing on their lower limbs (n = 48 legs). The C-A-T was applied successfully to 22 volunteers (92%), and the TMT was successfully applied to 17 (71%). Median time to reach complete arterial occlusion was 37.5 (interquartile range [IQR], 27-52) seconds with the C-A-T, and 35 (IQR, 29-42) seconds with the TMT. The 2.5-second difference in median times was not significant (ρ = .589). The 1-in-10 difference in median pain score was also not significant (ρ = .656). The success or failure of self-application between the two tourniquet models as assessed by contingency table was not significant (p= .137). Conclusion: The TMT is effective when self-applied at the mid thigh. It does not offer an efficacy advantage over the C-A-T.

Does Pain Have a Role When It Comes to Tourniquet Training?

Alterie J, Dennis AJ, Baig A, Impens A, Ivkovic K, Joseph KT, Messer TA, Poulakidas S, Starr FL, Wiley DE, Bokhari F, Nagy KK 18(3). 71 - 74 (Journal Article)

Background: One of the greatest conundrums with tourniquet (TQ) education is the use of an appropriate surrogate of hemorrhage in the training setting to determine whether a TQ has been successfully used. At our facility, we currently use loss of audible Doppler signal or loss of palpable pulse to represent adequate occlusion of vasculature and thus successful TQ application. We set out to determine whether pain can be used to indicate successful TQ application in the training setting. Methods: Three tourniquet systems (a pneumatic tourniquet, Combat Application Tourniquet® [C-A-T], and Stretch Wrap and Tuck Tourniquet™ [SWAT-T]) were used to occlude the arterial vasculature of the left upper arm (LUA), right upper arm (RUA), left forearm (LFA), right forearm (RFA), right thigh (RTH), and right calf (RCA) of 41 volunteers. A 4MHz, handheld Doppler ultrasound was used to confirm loss of Doppler signal (LOS) at the radial or posterior tibial artery to denote successful TQ application. Once successful placement of the TQ was noted, subjects rated their pain from 0 to 10 on the visual analog scale. In addition, the circumference of each limb, the pressure with the pneumatic TQ, number of twists with the C-A-T, and length of TQ used for the SWAT-T to obtain LOS was recorded. Results: All 41 subjects had measurements at all anatomic sites with the pneumatic TQ, except one participant who was unable to complete the LUA. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 61% of subjects for LUA, 50% for LFA, 57.5% for RUA, 52.5% RFA, 15% for RTH, and 25% for RCA. Pain was rated 3 or 4 by 45% of subjects for RTH. For the C-A-T, data were collected from 40 participants. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 57.5% for the LUA, 70% for the LFA, 62.5% for the RUA, 75% for the RFA, 15% for the RTH, and 40% for the RCA. Pain was rated 3 or 4 by 42.5%. The SWAT-T group consisted of 37 participants for all anatomic locations. In total, pain was rated as 1 or less by 27% for LUA, 40.5% for the LFA, 27.0% for the RUA, 43.2 for the RFA, 18.9% for the RTH, and 16.2% for the RCA. Pain was rated 5 by 21.6% for RTH application, and 3 or 4 by 35%. Conclusion: The unexpected low pain values recorded when loss of signal was reached make the use of pain too sensitive as an indicator to confirm adequate occlusion of vasculature and, thus, successful TQ application.

Chemical Contamination Transfer in the Management of War Casualties

Collectif MCV T 18(3). 67 - 70 (Journal Article)

The use of chemical weapons agents (CWAs) was suspected in recent conflicts, during international conflicts, terrorist attacks, or civil wars. Little is known about the prevention needed for caregivers exposed to the risk of contamination transfer. We present a case of chemical contamination of health servicemembers during the management of casualties.

Facial Trauma Care in the Austere Environment

Farber SJ, Kantar RS, Rodriguez ED 18(3). 62 - 66 (Journal Article)

As the United States continues to increase its use of Special Operations Forces worldwide, treatment of craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma must be adapted to meet the needs of the warfighter. The remoteness of Special Operations can result in potentially longer times until definitive treatment may be reached. A significant portion of Servicemembers incur injury to the CMF region (42%). Severe CMF trauma can result in substantial hemorrhage and airway compromise. These can be immediately life threatening and must be addressed expeditiously. Numerous devices and techniques for airway management have been made available to the forward provider. A thorough review of nonsurgical and surgical airway management of the patient with facial injury for the forward provider and providers at receiving facilities is provided in this article. Techniques to address flail segments of the facial skeleton are critical in minimizing airway compromise in these patients. There are many methods to control hemorrhage from the head and neck region. Hemorrhage control is critical to ensure survival in the austere environment and allow for transport to a definitive care facility. Associated injuries to the cervical spine, globe, skull base, carotid artery, and brain must be carefully evaluated and addressed in these patients. Management of vision- threatening orbital compartment syndrome is critical in patients with CMF injuries. Because the head and neck region remains relatively vulnerable in the warfighter, combat CMF trauma will continue to occur. Forward providers will benefit from a review of the acute treatment of CMF traumatic injury. Properly triaging and treating facial injuries is necessary to afford the best chance of survival for patients with a devastating combat CMF injury.

Implementation and Evaluation of a First-Responder Bleeding-Control Training Program in a Rural Police Department

Reed JR, Carman MJ, Titch FJ, Kotwal RS 18(3). 57 - 61 (Journal Article)

Background: In the prehospital environment, nonmedical first responders are often the first to arrive on the scene of a traumatic event and must be prepared to provide initial care at the point of injury. In civilian communities, these nonmedical first responders often include law enforcement officers. Hemorrhage is a major cause of death in trauma, and many of these deaths occur in the prehospital environment; therefore, prehospital training efforts should be directed accordingly toward bleeding control. Methods: A bleeding control training program was implemented and evaluated in a rural police department in Pinehurst, North Carolina, from February to April 2017. A repeated measures observational study was conducted to evaluate the training program. Measured were self-efficacy (pre- and post-test), knowledge (pretest, post-test 1 [immediate], post-test 2 [at 4 weeks]), and limb-tourniquet application time (classroom, simulation exercise). Results: The study population was composed of 28 police officers (92.9% male) whose median age was 37 (interquartile range, 22-55) years. Mean self-efficacy scores, equating to user confidence and the decision to intervene, increased from pre- to post-training (34.54 [standard deviation (SD) 4.16] versus 35.62 [SD 4.17]; p = .042). In addition, mean knowledge test scores increased from pre- to immediately post-training (75.00 [SD 16.94] versus 85.83 [SD 11.00]; p = .006), as well as from preto 4 weeks post-training (75.00 [SD 16.94] versus 84.17 [SD 11.77]; p = .018). Lower limb-tourniquet application times were more rapid in the classroom than during the simulation exercise (23.06 seconds [SD 7.68] versus 31.91 seconds [SD 9.81]; p = .005). Conclusion: First-responder bleeding-control programs should be initiated and integrated at the local level throughout the Nation. Implementation and sustainment of such programs in police departments can save lives and enhance existing law enforcement efforts to protect and serve communities.

A Pilot Study of Four Intraosseous Blood Transfusion Strategies

Auten JD, Mclean JB, Kemp JD, Roszko PJ, Fortner GA, Krepela AL, Walchak AC, Walker CM, Deaton TG, Fishback JE 18(3). 50 - 56 (Journal Article)

Background: Intraosseous (IO) access is used by military first responders administering fluids, blood, and medications. Current IO transfusion strategies include gravity, pressure bags, rapid transfusion devices, and manual push-pull through a three-way stopcock. In a swine model of hemorrhagic shock, we compared flow rates among four different IO blood transfusion strategies. Methods: Nine Yorkshire swine were placed under general anesthesia. We removed 20 to 25mL/kg of each animal's estimated blood volume using flow of gravity. IO access was obtained in the proximal humerus. We then autologously infused 10 to 15mL/kg of the animal's estimated blood volume through one of four randomly assigned treatment arms. Results: The average weight of the swine was 77.3kg (interquartile range, 72.7kg-88.8kg). Infusion rates were as follows: gravity, 5mL/min; Belmont rapid infuser, 31mL/min; single-site pressure bag, 78mL/min; double-site pressure bag, 103mL/min; and push-pull technique, 109mL/min. No pulmonary arterial fat emboli were noted. Conclusion: The optimal IO transfusion strategy for injured Servicemembers appears to be single-site transfusion with a 10mL to 20mL flush of normal saline, followed immediately by transfusion under a pressure bag. Further study, powered to detect differences in flow rate and clinical complications. is required.

Swedish Specialized Boarding Element Members' Experiences of Naval Hostile Duty

Hindorf M, Lundberg L, Jonsson A 18(3). 45 - 49 (Journal Article)

Background: The Swedish naval specialized boarding element participated in Operation Atalanta in 2013 to mitigate piracy by escorting and protecting ships included in the United Nations World Food Program in the Indian Ocean. We describe the experiences of the Swedish naval specialized boarding-element members during 4 months of international naval hostile duty. Some studies have reported experiences of naval duty for the Coast Guard or the merchant fleet; however, we did not find any studies that identified or described experiences of long-time duty onboard ship for the naval armed forces. Materials and Methods: The respondents wrote individual notes of daily events while onboard. Conventional content analysis was used on the collected data, using an inductive approach. Results: The findings revealed three broad themes: military preparedness, coping with the naval context, and handling physical and mental strain. Different categories emerged indicating that the participants need the ability to adapt to the naval environment and to real situations. Conclusion: The Swedish naval forces should train their specialized element members in coping strategies.

Worldwide Case Reports Using the iTClamp for External Hemorrhage Control

McKee JL, Kirkpatrick AW, Bennett BL, Jenkins DA, Logsetty S, Holcomb JB 18(3). 39 - 44 (Journal Article)

Background: Historically, hemorrhage control strategies consisted of manual pressure, pressure dressings, gauze with or without hemostatic ingredients for wound packing, or the use of tourniquets. The iTClamp is a relatively new alternative to stop external bleeding. Methods: An anonymous survey was used to evaluate the outcomes of the iTClamp in worldwide cases of external bleeding. Results: A total of 245 evaluable applications were reported. The iTClamp stopped the bleeding in 81% (n = 198) of the cases. Inadequate bleeding control was documented in 8% (n = 20) and in the remaining 11% (n = 27), bleeding control was not reported. The top three anatomic body regions for iTClamp application were the scalp, 37% (n = 91); arm, 20% (n = 49); and leg, 19% (n = 46). In 26% of the reported cases (direct pressure [23% (n = 63)] and tourniquets [3% (n = 8]), other techniques were abandoned in favor of the iTClamp. Conversely, the iTClamp was abandoned in favor of direct pressure 11 times (4.4%) and abandoned in favor of a tourniquet three times (1%). Conclusion: The iTClamp appears to be a fast and reliable device to stop external bleeding. Because of its function and possible applications, it has potential to lessen the gap between and add to the present selection of devices for treatment of external bleeding.

Comparison of Scapular Manipulation With External Rotation Method of Reduction of Acute Anterior Shoulder Dislocation for Sedation Requirements and Success Rates

Adhikari S, Koirala P, Kafle D 18(3). 34 - 37 (Journal Article)

Background: Anterior shoulder dislocation is a common sports-related musculoskeletal injury. Various methods have been described for reduction of the dislocation. A method that requires less sedation without compromising the success rate is likely to be highly useful in austere and prehospital settings. This study compares scapular manipulation with external rotation method for requirement of sedation and success rates. Methods: Forty-six patients with anterior shoulder dislocation were allocated alternatively to reduction using either scapular manipulation (SMM) or external rotation (ERM) techniques. The groups were compared for sedation requirements, pain scores, and success rates. Results: Reductions using SMM had fewer requirements for sedation (13% versus 39%; p < .05) and higher first-pass success rates (87% versus 61%; p < .05) as compared with ERM for anterior shoulder dislocation reduction. The numeric rating score of pain during reduction procedures was less in SMM (mean, 1.65 [standard deviation, 1.6]) than in ERM group (mean, 4.30 [standard deviation, 1.8]; p < .01). Conclusion: The SMM required less sedation and had higher first-pass success rates than ERM for reduction of anterior shoulder dislocation. The SMM is thus likely to be of advantage in resource-limited austere settings.

Mechanical Forces Experienced by Simulated Patients Evacuated During Dismounted Military Movement in Mountainous Terrain

Florance JM, Florance C 18(3). 28 - 32 (Journal Article)

Background: Given a denied or resource-limited area of operations, when air medical evacuation would require extended delay, should dismounted movement through difficult terrain dissuade an attempt of immediate ground evacuation? Understanding the magnitude of external forces during dismounted movement would inform planning in such circumstances. Objectives: We assessed the mechanical impact experienced during dismounted evacuation from mountainous terrain. We also describe a protocol using a portable accelerometer to evaluate evacuation. Materials and Methods: A triaxial accelerometer and a semiflexible litter were used to collect data during the Army Mountain Warfare School Rough Terrain Evacuation Course. We used the generalized extreme value (GEV) distribution, using maximum likelihood estimation, to model maximum acceleration values. Results: It was determined that the accelerometer should be mounted directly onto a mannequin when using semiflexible litters. GEV analysis from a mannequin-mounted trial revealed that for 1-minute evacuation intervals, 10% would have a maximum acceleration over a value between 2.4g and 3.7g. This interval encompasses the maximum acceleration from evacuation using a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, measured by the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory. The peak acceleration from a 75-minute, mannequin-mounted trial was 5.5g, approximately twice as large as the MRAP maximum. Conclusion: For the evacuee, the acceleration experienced during dismounted evacuation in mountainous terrain can be comparable to MRAP evacuation, especially with sufficient planning that avoids points of maximum impact. Leaders can consider this comparison during planning.

Your Metric Matters! Choose Wisely to Assess User Performance With Tourniquets in Simulated First Aid

Zhao NO, Kragh JF, Aden JK, Jordan BS, Parsons DL, Dubick MA 18(3). 22 - 27 (Journal Article)

Background: Readiness to perform lifesaving interventions during emergencies is based on a person's preparation to proficiently execute the skills required. Graphically plotting the performance of a tourniquet user in simulation has previously aided us in developing our understanding of how the user actually behaves. The purpose of this study was to explore performance assessment and learning curves to better understand how to develop best teaching practices. Methods: These were retrospective analyses of a convenience sample of data from a prior manikin study of 200 tourniquet uses among 10 users. We sought to generate hypotheses about performance assessments relevant to developing best teaching practices. The focus was on different metrics of user performance. Results: When one metric was chosen over another, failure counts summed cumulatively over 200 uses differed as much as 12-fold. That difference also indicated that the degree of challenge posed to user performance differed by the metric chosen. When we ranked user performance with one metric and then with another, most (90%; nine of 10) users changed rank: five rose and four fell. Substantial differences in performance outcomes resulted from the difference in metric chosen, which, in turn, changed how the outcome was portrayed and thus interpreted. Hypotheses generated included the following: The usefulness of a specific metric may vary by the user's level of skill from novice to expert; demonstration of the step order in skill performance may suffice for initial training of novices; a mechanical metric of effectiveness, like pulse stoppage, may aid in later training of novices; and training users how to practice on their own and self-assess performance may aid their self-development. Conclusion: The outcome of the performance assessments varied depending on the choice of metric in this study of simulated use of tourniquets.

Study of Tourniquet Use in Simulated First Aid: User Judgment

Kragh JF, Tan AR, Newton NJ, Aden JK, Dubick MA 18(3). 15 - 21 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to survey the judgments of tourniquet users in simulation to discern opportunities for further study. Methods: The study design constituted two parts: questions posed to four tourniquet users and then their tourniquet use was surveyed in simulated first aid, where the users had to decide how to perform among five different cases. The questions addressed judged confidence, blood volumes, a reason bleeding resumes, regret of preventable death, hemorrhage assessment, need for side-by-side use of tourniquets, shock severity, predicting reliability, and difference in blood losses. The mechanical performance was tested on a manikin. Case 1 had no bleeding. Case 2 had limb-wound bleeding that indicated tourniquet use in first aid. Case 3 was like case 2, except the patient was a child. Case 4 was like case 2, except caregiving was under gunfire. Case 5 was like case 4, but two tourniquets were to be used side by side. Each user made tests of the five cases to constitute a block. Each user had three blocks. Case order was randomized within blocks. The study had 60 tests. Results: In answering questions relevant to first-aid use of limb tourniquets, judgments were in line with previous studies of judgment science, and thus were plausibly applicable. Mechanical performance results on the manikin were as follows: 38 satisfactory, 10 unsatisfactory (a loose tourniquet and nine incorrect tourniquet placements), and 12 not applicable (case 1 needed no mechanical intervention). For cases 1 to 5, satisfactory results were: 100%, 83%, 100%, 75%, and 58%, respectively. For blocks 1 to 3, satisfactory results were 50%, 83%, and 83%, respectively. Conclusion: For tourniquet use in simulated first aid, the results are plausibly applicable because user judgments were coherent with those in previous studies of judgment science. However, the opportunities for further studies were noted.

Psychological Strategies During Military Training Are Linked to Resilience in US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operators

Taylor MK, Rolo C, Stump J, Mayo J, Hhernandez LM, Gould DR 19(1). 61 - 65 (Journal Article)

Purpose: We describe the psychological strategies (PS) used by a specialized military population, US Navy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), during training and military operations. We also aim to establish the relationship between PS and resilience. Methods: The Test of Performance Strategies was adapted to the military environment and subsequently was administered to 58 EOD Operators in conjunction with the 10-item Connor- Davidson Resilience Scale. Differences between high- and low-resilience Operators for PS were evaluated with discriminant models. Results: The PS of EOD Operators were comparable to those of Olympic athletes described in our prior study. The most frequently used strategies during training and military operations were goal setting and emotional control. Discriminant analysis indicated an overall difference between high- and low-resilience Operators with respect to the six training subscales (ρ < .05), with goal setting, emotional control, and attentional control contributing most to the discriminant function. Conclusion: EOD Operators' use of PS was comparable to that of elite athletes. We provide evidence that more-resilient EOD Operators differ from their less resilient counterparts in the strategies they use. These findings have implications for mental preparation strategies used during military training and operations.

In the Neck and Not Out of the Woods

Dare C, Hampton K 19(1). 130 (Journal Article)

Painful Scalp Nodules on an Active-Duty Sailor

Schmidgal EC, Wright KT 19(1). 128 - 129 (Journal Article)

Lesions of the scalp can present a challenging differential diagnosis to the primary care provider, especially in remote military settings where specialist care is not immediately available. Scalp lesions can be painful and disfiguring, and cause duty limitations if they interfere with the donning of personal protective equipment such as helmets, hardhats, or firefighting gear. We present a case of dissecting scalp cellulitis on an active- duty Navy Sailor who was leaving on an extended underway period on his ship the next day.

A Comparison of Two Chronic Skin Conditions: Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis

Conlon EG, Wright KT 19(1). 125 - 127 (Journal Article)

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis are two common chronic skin diseases that affect many people, including active- duty military Servicemembers and their families. Both conditions have significant psychosocial impacts and can lead to substantial morbidity if undiagnosed and left untreated. We compare and contrast atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in terms of epidemiology, etiology, presentation, diagnosis, and treatment. The goal is to help military medical providers distinguish between the two diseases and provide practical steps for treatment and long-term management.

Effects of Oral Chondroitin Sulfate on Osteoarthritis-Related Pain and Joint Structural Changes: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Knapik JJ, Pope R, Hoedebecke SS, Schram B, Orr R 19(1). 113 - 124 (Journal Article)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disorder involving the deterioration of articular cartilage and underlying bone and is associated with symptoms of pain and disability. In military personnel, the incidence of OA has increased between 2000 and 2012 and was the first or second leading cause of medical separations in this period. It has been suggested that consumption of chondroitin sulfate (CS) may reduce the pain and joint deterioration associated with OA. This article reports on a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of CS on reducing OA-related pain and joint deterioration. PubMed and Ovid Embase databases and other sources were searched to find randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials on the effects of orally consumed CS on pain and/or joint structure. The outcome measure was the standardized mean difference (SMD) which was the improvement in the placebo groups minus the improvement in the CS groups divided by the pooled standard deviation. There were 18 trials meeting the review criteria for pain with SMD -0.41, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) -0.57 to -0.25 (negative SMD favors CS). Six studies met the review criteria for joint space narrowing with SMD -0.30, 95% CI -0.61 to +0.00. Two studies meet the review criteria for cartilage volume with SMD -0.11, 95% CI -0.48 to +0.26. Larger dosages (1200mg/d) had greater pain reduction efficacy than lower dosages (≤ 1000mg/d). These data suggest that CS has small to moderate effectiveness in reducing OA-related pain but minimal effects on joint space narrowing and no effect on cartilage volume. It is important that clinicians recommend pharmaceutical-grade CS to their patients due to the variability in the amount of CS in dietary supplements purporting to contain CS.

Precision Performance Nutrition What Can Special Operations Forces Communities Expect?

Conkright W, Deuster PA 19(1). 107 - 112 (Journal Article)

Modern-day warfare and operational tempo require Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel to be ready and able to perform optimally on the battlefield at all times. To do this, US Special Operations Command has invested in high-performance training centers and human performance staff, including performance dietitians. Performance dietitians are critical, because it is widely recognized that nutrition affects all aspects of health and performance, particularly for the SOF Operator. These aspects include everything from physical and sensory to psychosocial and cognitive factors, as well as environmental exposures and genetic predispositions. The impact of nutrition on performance has been well established, with specific recommendations and position stands on fueling for athletics from multiple international organizations. However, sports nutrition guidelines are based on outcomes from sample means rather than individual changes in performance. Precision performance nutrition solutions must include a systems-based approach and consider the individuality of the Operator along with their interactions with their environment. The purpose of this article is to summarize what is known about performance nutrition and outline what can be done to move toward personalized precision nutrition. We discuss pitfalls and challenges with regard to mission-specific goals, optimization versus adaptation, and longitudinal tracking; and present our view of the future.

Concepts of Prehospital Advanced Airway Management in the Operational K9: A Focus on Cricothyrotomy

Palmer LE 19(1). 99 - 106 (Journal Article)

Similar to people, airway obstruction is a potentially preventable cause of combat and line of duty death for civilian law enforcement Operational K9s (OpK9) and military working dogs (MWD). Basic (i.e., body positioning, manual maneuvers, bag-valve-mask ventilation) and advanced (i.e., endotracheal intubation, surgical airways) airway techniques are designed to establish a patent airway, oxygenate and ventilate, and protect from aspiration. A surgical airway (cricothyrotomy [CTT] or tracheostomy [TT]) is warranted for difficult airway scenarios in which less invasive means fail to open an airway (aka "Cannot intubate, cannot oxygenate"). In people, the surgical CTT is the preferred surgical airway procedure; most human prehospital providers are not even trained on the TT. Currently, only the TT is described in the veterinary literature as an emergent surgical airway for MWDs. This article describes the novel approach of instituting the surgical CTT for managing the canine difficult airway. The information provided is applicable to personnel operating within the US Special Operations Command as well as civilian tactical emergency medical services that may have the responsibility of providing medical care to an OpK9 or MWD.

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