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Efficacy of Commercial Chest Seal Adherence and Tension Pneumothorax Prevention: A Systematic Review of Quantitative Studies

21(3). 78 - 85 (Journal Article)

Background: Penetrating thoracic injuries account for an essential subset of battlefield and civilian injuries that result in death. Current recommendations are to use commercially available nonocclusive chest seals. We review current evidence for which chest seal(s) is likely to be the most effective in treating open pneumothoraces. Methods: A systematic review was conducted in accordance with the PRIMSA 2009 standard systematic review methodology, except where noted. The databases Pubmed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus, and gray sources were searched for all English-language, full-manuscript, experimental, quantitative studies of humans and animals concerning seal adherence or their efficacy at preventing tension pneumothoraces published between 1990 and 2020. A numerical analysis was used to provide the consensus recommendation. Results: Of 683 eligible identified articles [PubMed 528 (77.3%), Scopus 87 (12.7%), CINAHL 67 (9.8%), one (0.1%) unpublished], six (0.9%) articles were included. Synthesis of all studies' results suggests a consensus recommendation for the Hyfin Vent Chest Seal and Russell Chest Seal. These two were the most effective chest seals, as previously investigated in a quantifiable, experimental study. Conclusion: While chest seals are recommended in civilian and military prehospital medicine to improve patient survival, current evidence concerning the individual device's efficacy is limited. Further scientific, quantitative research is needed to clarify which commercially available chest seals are most effective and provide patients with penetrating chest trauma the best possible method for preventing or mitigating tension pneumothoraces.

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Self-Reported Musculoskeletal Injury Healthcare-Seeking Behaviors in US Air Force Special Warfare Personnel

21(3). 72 - 77 (Journal Article)

Purpose: This study evaluated the musculoskeletal injury (MSKI) self-reporting behaviors among active-duty Air Force Special Warfare personnel to explore potential limitations of injury surveillance approaches. Methods: Participants completed a 47-item survey between December 2018 and March 2019 regarding their MSKI history. Participants were asked if they sought medical care for symptoms consistent with MSKIs and reasons they did or did not report their injuries. Injury reporting rates were calculated with descriptive statistics and rank ordering was utilized to determine frequency. Results: A total of 398 airmen reported 1,057 injuries occurring in the previous 12-month period, including 508 (48%) injuries identified as not reported to medical personnel. Approximately 55% (N = 579) of all injuries were described as gradual onset. The most common reason for not reporting injuries (28.8%, N = 62) was "fear of potential impact on future career opportunities." Conclusion: Approximately half of MSKIs in this sample of US Air Force Special Warfare personnel were not reported to medical personnel. The underreporting of injuries may pose unknown levels of risk and negatively impact military readiness levels.

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Blood Product Administration During Transport Throughout the US Africa Command Theater of Operation

21(3). 66 - 70 (Journal Article)

Background: United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) is one of six US Defense Department's geographic combatant commands and is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for military relations with African nations, the African Union, and African regional security organizations. A full-spectrum combatant command, US AFRICOM is responsible for all US Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. We seek to characterize blood product administration within AFRICOM using the in-transit visibility tracking tool known as TRAC2ES (TRANSCOM Regulating and Command & Control Evacuation System). Methods: We performed a retrospective review of TRAC2ES medical evacuations from the AFRICOM theater of operations conducted between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2018. Results: During this time, there were 963 cases recorded in TRAC2ES originating within AFRICOM, of which 10 (1%) cases received blood products. All patients were males. One was a Department of State employee, one was a military working dog, and the remainder were military personnel. Of the ten humans, seven were the result of trauma, most by way of gunshot wound, and three were due to medical causes. Among human subjects receiving blood products for traumatic injuries, a total of 5 units of type O negative whole blood, 29 units of packed red blood cells (pRBCs), and 9 units of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were transfused. No subjects underwent massive transfusion of blood products, and only one subject received pRBCs and FFP in 1:1 fashion. All subjects survived until evacuation. Conclusions: Within the TRAC2ES database, blood product administration within AFRICOM was infrequent, with some cases highlighting lack of access to adequate blood products. Furthermore, the limitations within this database highlight the need for systems designed to capture medical care performance improvement, as this database is not designed to support such analyses. A mandate for performance improvement within AFRICOM that is similar to that of the US Central Command would be beneficial if major improvements are to occur.

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COVID-19 Antibody Prevalence From July to September 2020: One Army Infantry Brigade's Experience

21(3). 60 - 65 (Journal Article)

Objectives: Lab companies developed serology tests for antibody detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) with United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization. Antibody detection uses purified proteins of SARS-CoV-2 to determine antibody binding via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA), or colloidal gold-based immunochromatographic assay. With the advent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), nucleic acid amplification technology (NAAT) SARS-CoV-2 testing for active infection was not widely available to healthy, active-duty Soldiers. The purpose of this surveillance survey was to determine the prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptoms of COVID-19 within a mechanized infantry brigade. Materials and Methods: Active-duty military Servicemembers (≥ 18 years) from a mechanized infantry brigade provided serum samples for testing for the Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 qualitative antibody test from June to September 2020 at Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). In addition, participants filled out a questionnaire for symptoms and exposure to COVID-19 from January to September 2020. The surveillance team collected and analyzed antibody testing results and questionnaires from participants for antibody positivity rates and symptom prevalence. Results: A total of 264 participants were tested, with one (0.4%) participant testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 antibody. On the questionnaire, 144 of 264 (54.5%) endorsed symptoms of COVID-19 from January to September 2020. The most common symptoms were headache (35%), rhinorrhea (34%), cough (35%), and sore throat (31%). A total of 31 respondents (12%) had been quarantined as a trace contact to a COVID-19 positive patient. Conclusions: While there are limitations inherent to SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing and the survey, prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection is low. In this sample, symptoms for COVID-19 were prevalent with significant days of duty lost. Prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in this sample may be generalizable to the larger brigade. Prevalence of symptoms of possible COVID-19 are not generalizable to the larger brigade. There is utility to further studies of SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in military populations for purposes of vaccination triaging and deployment readiness.

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Impact of a 10,000-m Cold-Water Swim on Norwegian Naval Special Forces Recruits

21(3). 55 - 59 (Journal Article)

Background: Special Operation Forces (SOF) operate regularly in extreme environmental conditions that may affect tactical and physical performance. The main aims of the present study were to elucidate the impact of a long cold-water swim on SOF recruits' dexterity, performance, and reaction time. Material and Methods: Eleven recruits from Norwegian Naval Special Operation Command (NORNAVSOC) that were participating in a 10,000-m open water swim with a dry suit in 5°C cold water volunteered to participate in this study. The exercise was part of their training. Grip strength, lower body power, and dexterity were measured before, immediately after, and 24 hours after the swim. In addition, core and skin temperatures were measured continuously during the swim and until 45 minutes after the swim. Results: After the swim, moderate to large reductions in core temperature, lower body power, and reaction time were observed. Moreover, very large to extremely large reductions in skin temperature, grip strength, and dexterity were also observed. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that exposure to a 10,000-m swim in 5°C water using standard equipment led to a significant drop in the recruits' temperature and performance. These findings could have a meaningful impact on the planning of training, operations, and gear used for SOF.

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Chemical Warfare Agents in Terrorist Attacks: An Interregional Comparison, Tactical Response Implications, and the Emergence of Counterterrorism Medicine

21(3). 51 - 54 (Journal Article)

Background: Terrorist attacks are growing in frequency, increasing concerns about chemical warfare agents (CWAs). Asphyxiants (e.g., cyanide), opioids (e.g., carfentanyl), and nerve agents (e.g., ricin) represent some of the most lethal CWAs. Our aim was to define the epidemiology of CWA use in terrorism and detail specific agents used to allow for the development of training programs for responders. Methods: The open-source Global Terrorism Database (GTD) was searched for all chemical attacks from January 1, 1970, to December 31, 2018. Attacks were included when they fulfilled the terrorism-related criteria as set forth in the internal Codebook of the GTD. Events meeting only partial criteria were excluded. Results: A total of 347 terrorism-related chemical events occurred, with 921 fatalities and 13,361 nonfatal injuries (NFIs) recorded during the study period. South Asia accounted for nearly 30% (101 of 347) of CWA attacks, with 73 of 101 occurring in Afghanistan. The Taliban was implicated in 40 of 101 events utilizing a mixture of agents, including unknown chemical gases (likely representing trials of a number of different chemicals), contamination of water sources with pesticides, and the use of corrosive acid. The largest death toll from a single event (200 fatalities) was attributed to a cult-related mass murder in the Kasese District of Uganda in March 2000. East Asia sustained the highest NFI toll of 7,007 as a result of chemical attacks; 5,500 were attributed to the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack of 1995 by Aum Shinrikyo. Conclusion: The use of CWAs remains a concern given the rising rate of terrorist events. First responders and healthcare workers should be aware of potential chemical hazards that have been used regionally and globally and should train and prepare to respond appropriately.

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Studies on the Correct Length of Nasopharyngeal Airways in Adults: A Literature Review

21(3). 45 - 50 (Journal Article)

The use of a nasopharyngeal airway (NPA) as an adjunct airway device can be critically important in emergency medicine. When placed correctly, the device can prevent upper airway obstruction. The goal of our review was to learn whether there is scientific evidence about the correct length and the insertion depth, and also possible facial landmarks, that can predict the appropriate length of the NPA. There has been no real consensus on how to measure the appropriate tube length for the NPA. Several studies have been able to demonstrate correlations between facial landmarks and body dimensions; however, we did not find any scientific evidence on this matter. The reviewed studies do not indicate evidence to support current recommended guidelines. This could potentially lead to both military and civilian emergency training programs not having the most accurate scientific information for training on anatomic structures and also not having a better overall understanding of intraoral dimensions. Emergency personnel should be taught validated scientific knowledge of NPAs so as to quickly determine the correct tube length and how to use anatomic correlations. This might require further studies on the correlations and perhaps radiographic measurements. A further approach includes adjusting the tube to its correct length according to the sufficient assessment and management of the airway problem.

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Physiological Response in a Specialist Paramedic During Helicopter Winch Rescue in Remote Wilderness and Extreme Heat

21(3). 41 - 44 (Journal Article)

Tasks performed by search and rescue (SAR) teams can be physically demanding. SAR organizations are faced with mounting challenges due to increased participation in recreation in remote locations and more frequent extreme weather. We sought to describe the physiological response and the methods for data collection during helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) winch rescue from remote wilderness in extreme heat. A flight paramedic sustained 81% of maximum heart rate (VO₂ ~44.8 mL/kg/min) for ~10 minutes at a rate of perceived exertion of 19/20, and a relative heart rate of 77.5% in 37.1°C. Maximal acceptable work time for this task was calculated at 37.7 minutes. Our data collection methods were feasible, and the data captured demonstrated the level of physiological strain that may be encountered during HEMS SAR operations in austere environments and hot climate. It is essential that SAR teams that perform physically demanding tasks use a scientific approach to adapt and evolve. This is necessary to ensure personnel are appropriately selected, trained, and equipped to respond in an era of increasing demand and extreme environments.

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Effectiveness of Short Training in Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) by Emergency Physicians: The Applied Course for Internal Aortic Clamping on Field Mission

21(3). 36 - 40 (Journal Article)

Background: Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is a technique that uses internal clamping of the aorta to control abdominal, pelvic, or junctional bleeding. We created a course to train military physicians in both civilian prehospital use and battlefield use. To determine the effectiveness of this training, we conducted REBOA training for French military emergency physicians. Methods: We trained 15 military physicians, organizing the training as follows: a half-day of theoretical training, a half-day of training on mannequins, a half-day on human corpses, and a half-day on a living pig. The primary endpoint was the success rate after training. We defined success as the balloon being inflated in zone 1 of a PryTime mannequin. The secondary endpoints were the progression of each trainee during the training, the difference between the median completion duration before and after training, the median post-training duration, and the median duration for the placement of the sheath introducer before and after training. Results: Fourteen of the physicians (93%) correctly placed the balloon in the mannequin at the end of the training period. During the training, the success rate increased from 73% to 93% (p = .33). The median time for REBOA after training was only 222 seconds (interquartile range [IQR] 194-278), significantly faster than before training (330 seconds, IQR 260-360.5; p = .0033). We also found significantly faster sheath introducer placement (148 seconds, IQR 126-203 versus 145 seconds, IQR 115.5 &emdash; 192.5; p = .426). Conclusion: The training can be performed successfully and paves the way for the use of REBOA by emergency physicians in austere conditions.

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Limb Tourniquet Holding Location: Model Results Fail to Translate to Human Results

21(3). 30 - 35 (Journal Article)

Background: During strap pulling, how limb tourniquet sliding is prevented affects secured pressure achievement. Data from model setups indicated moving the Tactical Ratcheting Medical Tourniquet (Tac RMT; m2 inc.) holding loop location could be advantageous regarding strap-pulling pressure achievement. Methods: Self- and buddy-strap pull applications to the arm and mid-thigh were done with the commercially available Tac RMT with the holding loop adjacent to the strap redirect buckle (NEAR) and with a modified Tac RMT with the holding loop moved to the far end of the toothed ladder from the redirect (FAR). Arm applications had the strap redirect buckle on the lateral aspect of the arm. Thigh applications had the strap redirect buckle on the lateral aspect and included applications with the strap's free end pulled downward and applications with the strap free end pulled upward. Buddy- arm and thigh pull-upward applications with FAR allowed a nonstandard technique of including thumb assistance of the strap into the redirect. Results: With standard technique, five of six pairs had lower FAR secured pressures (median difference, 16mmHg). When thumb assistance was used, four of five NEAR-FAR pairs had higher FAR secured pressures (median difference, 40mmHg). The thumb strap feeding technique was neither simple nor obvious. Conclusions: Moving the holding loop location is unlikely to be advantageous for Tac RMT actual applications. Model setup findings need to be checked with applications by humans to humans.

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Exploring Tourniquet Conversion in Simulation to Develop Concepts and Hypotheses

21(3). 23 - 29 (Journal Article)

Background: Compared with those of tourniquet application, tourniquet conversion concepts are underdeveloped. The purpose of this project was to develop tourniquet conversion concepts and generate hypotheses. Methods: One person performed 100 tests of tourniquet application and conversion. Testing varied by conversion types, materials, and assessments. Conversions were from improvised or Combat Application Tourniquets (C-A-T) to another C-A-T, a new site (with initial C-A-T only), a pneumatic Emergency and Military Tourniquet (EMT), or a pressure dressing (compression bandage or a roll gauze and an elastic wrap). Simulated limbs were created using plastic bottle-based manikins, pool noodle-based manikins, plastic pipes, glass bottles, a rain downspout, and a cardboard poster tube. Results: Tourniquet application, conversion, and total times averaged 105, 132, and 237 seconds, respectively. Improvised tourniquet time was longer than that of C-A-T (p ≤ .05, all three). By initial tourniquet site, the 2-3 inches site had longer conversion and total time (p ≤ .02, both) compared with highest site. By whether initial tourniquets placed were also used in conversion, total time was shorter if yes (p = .05). Conversion to a pressure dressing was longer in conversion and total time (p ≤ .02, both) compared with conversion to a tourniquet. One wrap was short; we switched to those longer to cover limbs better. Limb types varied for indentation. Conversion communications improved when we used abbreviations and symbols. Conclusions: This preliminary project simulated tourniquet conversion to develop clinical concepts and research hypotheses to build a better basis for later research.

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Joint Trauma System Clinical Practice Guideline: Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). 14 May 2021

21(3). 11 - 20 (Journal Article)

Deployed medical providers at all roles of care must be prepared to recognize and manage acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Under optimal conditions, treatment is initiated with medical therapy and may be followed by prompt coronary angiography and revascularization. Emergent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is not available in most deployed locations, however, and the time for such intervention is often dependent on long-range evacuation. This CPG provides guidance on best management for ACS patients in the deployed and resource-constrained environment.

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Spring 2021 Journal (Vol 21 Ed 1)

Vol 21 Ed 1
Spring 2021 Journal of Special Operations Medicine
ISSN: 1553-9768

View the Table of Contents

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Autopsy-Determined Atherosclerosis in Elite US Military Special Operations Forces

Kotwal RS, Mazuchowski EL, Howard JT, Hanak JC, Harcke HT, Gurney JM, Shackelford SA 21(2). 19 - 24 (Journal Article)

Background: Autopsy studies of trauma fatalities have provided evidence for the pervasiveness of atherosclerosis in young and middle-aged adults. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of atherosclerosis in elite US military forces. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of all US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) fatalities from 2001 to 2020 who died from battle injuries. Autopsies were evaluated from Afghanistan- and Iraq-centric combat operations for evidence of coronary and/or aortic atherosclerosis and categorized as minimal (fatty streaking only), moderate (10-49% narrowing of ≥1 vessel), and severe (≥50% narrowing of ≥1 vessel). Prevalence of atherosclerosis was determined for the total population and by subgroup characteristics of age, sex, race/ethnicity, combat operation, service command, occupation, rank, cause of death, manner of death, and body mass index (BMI). Results: From the total of 388 USSOCOM battle injury fatalities, 356 were included in the analysis. The mean age was 31 years (range, 19-57 years), and 98.6% were male. The overall prevalence of coronary and/or aortic atherosclerosis was 17.4%. The prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis alone was 13.8%. Coronary atherosclerosis was categorized as minimal in 1.1%, moderate in 7.6%, and severe in 5.1%. Of those with atherosclerosis, 24.2% were <30 years old, 88.7% were from enlisted ranks, and 95.2% had combatant occupations. When BMI could be calculated, 73.5% of fatalities with atherosclerosis had a BMI ≥25. Conclusions: Autopsy-determined atherosclerosis is prevalent in elite US military Special Operations Forces despite young age and positive lifestyle benefits of service in an elite military unit.

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23.4% Hypertonic Saline: A Tactical Option for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury With Impending or Ongoing Herniation

DeSoucy ES, Cacic K, Staak BP, Petersen CD, van Wyck D, Rajajee V, Dorsch J, Rush SC 21(2). 25 - 28 (Journal Article)

There are limited options available to the combat medic for management of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with impending or ongoing herniation. Current pararescue and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines prescribe a bolus of 3% or 5% hypertonic saline. However, this fluid bears a tactical burden of weight (~570g) and pack volume (~500cm3). Thus, 23.4% hypertonic saline is an attractive option, because it has a lighter weight (80g) and pack volume (55cm3), and it provides a similar osmotic load per dose. Current literature supports the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline in the management of acute TBI, and evidence indicates that it is safe to administer via peripheral and intraosseous cannulas. Current combat medic TBI treatment algorithms should be updated to include the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline as an alternative to 3% and 5% solutions, given its effectiveness and tactical advantages.

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Operation Blood Rain: The Effect of Airdrop on Fresh Whole Blood

Tong RL, Bohlke CW, Clemente Fuentes RW, Moncada M, Schloe AD, Ashley RL 21(2). 29 - 33 (Journal Article)

Background: Administration of fresh whole blood (FWB) is a life-saving treatment that prolongs life until definitive surgical intervention can be performed; however, collecting FWB is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Furthermore, it may be difficult to collect sufficient FWB to treat critically wounded patients or multiple-hemorrhaging casualties. This study describes the effect of airdrop on FWB and explores the possibility of using airdrop to deliver FWB to combat medics treating casualties in the prehospital setting when FDA-approved, cold-stored blood products are not readily available and timely casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) is not feasible. Methods: Four units of FWB were collected from volunteer donors and loaded into a blood cooler that was dropped from a fixed-wing aircraft under a standard airdrop training bundle (SATB) parachute. A control group of 4 units of FWB was stored in a blood cooler that was not dropped. Baseline and postintervention laboratory samples were measured in both airdropped and control units, including full blood counts, prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time/international normalized ratio (PT/PTT/INR), pH, lactate, potassium, indirect bilirubin, glucose, fibrinogen, lactate dehydrogenase, and peripheral blood smears. Results: The blood cooler, cooling bags, and all 4 FWB units did not sustain any damage from the airdrop. There was no evidence of hemolysis. All airdropped blood met parameters for transfusion per the Whole Blood Transfusion Clinical Practice Guideline of the Joint Trauma System (JTS). Conclusions: Airdrop of FWB in a blood cooler with a SATB parachute may be a viable way of delivering blood products to combat medics treating hemorrhaging patients in the prehospital setting, although further research is needed to fully validate the safety of this method of FWB delivery.

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Unconventionally Acquired Brain Injury: Guidance and Instruction About an Emerging Challenge to Warfighter Brain Health

Biggs AT, Henry SM, Johnston SL, Whittaker DR, Littlejohn LF 21(2). 43 - 48 (Journal Article)

Special Operations Forces have made brain health a medical priority in recent years, and new guidance identified a new challenge-unconventionally acquired brain injury (UBI). Although this emerging condition is described as a cluster of neurosensory and cognitive symptoms with unknown etiology/ origin, there remain critical questions about how this diagnosis differs from other brain injuries. More importantly, there are limited recommendations about how medical personnel should approach the problem. The current discussion will provide context and information about UBI based on higher guidance and will also review the scant literature to provide context. Foremost, UBI can be distinguished from traumatic brain injury (TBI) largely due to an unknown point of injury. The described symptoms otherwise appear to be largely the same as TBI. Likewise, the recommended course of treatment is to follow the Clinical Practice Guidelines for mild TBI/TBI even if the injury is an actual or suspected UBI. Personnel must be careful to avoid entering sensitive information into the medical record, which may be particularly challenging if identifying the cause involves classified information about an unconventional weapon. Finally, we briefly discuss the literature about several suspected incidents fitting UBI diagnostic criteria, and we conclude with five primary takeaways for medical personnel to follow.

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An Analysis of Prehospital Trauma Registry After-Action Reviews in Afghanistan

Carius BM, Dodge PM, Fisher AD, Loos PE, Thompson D, Schauer SG 21(2). 49 - 53 (Journal Article)

Background: After-action reviews (AARs) in the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR) enable performance improvements and provide commanders feedback on care delivered at Role 1. No published data exist exploring overall trends of end-user performance-improvement feedback. Methods: We performed an expert panel review of AARs within the PHTR in Afghanistan from January 2013 to September 2014. When possible, we categorized our findings and selected relevant medical provider comments. Results: Of 737 registered patient encounters found, 592 (80%) had AAR documentation. Most AAR patients were male (98%, n = 578), injured by explosion (48%, n = 283), and categorized for urgent evacuation (64%, n = 377). Nearly two thirds of AARs stated areas needing improvement (64%, n = 376), while the remainder left the improvement section blank (23%, n = 139) or specified no improvements (13%, n = 76). The most frequently cited areas for improvement were medical knowledge (23%, n = 136), evacuation coordination (19%, n = 115), and first responder training (16%, n = 95). Conclusions: Our expert panel reviewed AARs within the PHTR and found substantial numbers of AARs without improvements recommended, which limits quality improvement capabilities. Our analysis supports previous calls for better documentation of medical care in the prehospital combat setting.

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Project Reach: A Pilot Cross-Sectional Study of the Telemedical Capabilities of Special Operations Medical Personnel

Carlton DM, Lowery D, Woodard C, Lugo-Robles R, Charny G 21(2). 54 - 60 (Journal Article)

Background: While the US military has relied on the "Golden Hour" for casualty evacuation in Iraq and Afghanistan during most of the last two decades, Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel have found themselves operating further outside of this established medical infrastructure. This has required prolonged casualty care beyond doctrinal timelines. Telemedicine is increasingly used by medical personnel to bridge this gap, augmenting the local staff with the expertise of a distant consultant. This pilot study was launched to establish a baseline of current SOF telemedical capabilities. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of a 292 Department of Defense (DoD) SOF medical personnel via an online questionnaire during the period of October 2018-May 2019. Results: Approximately 16.1% of the 292 respondents stated they received telemedicine equipment, 51.1% of respondents who received telemedicine equipment reported also receiving training on their equipment. Overall, 40.6% of respondents were "actively looking to add telemedicine to their practice," with prolonged field care as the primary intended use. Ideal characteristics of telemedicine equipment were described as a device weighing 6 lb or less, with real-time video and ultrasound transmission capabilities. Discussion: The data demonstrated a gap between provider demand for telemedicine capabilities and their comfort to employ these capabilities downrange. Conclusions: This study suggests a need to increase the self-reported telemedicine competency of deployed local providers. Authors believe that this is best accomplished through incorporation of early integration of teleconsulting systems into mission rehearsals and unit exercises. Further study should be considered to investigate the efficacy of ongoing acquisition and training programs, along with how telemedicine is being incorporated in the unit during the predeployment training period.

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