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Prehospital Care of Canine Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus

Palmer LE 18(1). 91 - 98 (Journal Article)

The intent of the Operational K9 (OpK9) ongoing series is to provide the Special Operations Medical Association community with clinical concepts and scientific information on preventive and prehospital emergency care relevant to the OpK9. Often the only medical support immediately available for an injured or ill OpK9 in the field is their handler or the human Special Operations Combat Medic or civilian tactical medic attached to the team (e.g., Pararescueman, 18D, SWAT medic). The information is applicable to personnel operating within the US Special Operations Command as well as civilian Tactical Emergency Medical Services communities that may have the responsibility of supporting an OpK9.

Ocular Injuries and Cultural Influences in Afghanistan During 5 Months of Operation Enduring Freedom

Paz DA, Thomas KE, Primakov DG 18(1). 77 - 80 (Journal Article)

In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, American, North American Treaty Organization (NATO) Coalition, and Afghan forces worked together in training exercises and counterinsurgency operations. While serving at the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit, Kandahar, Afghanistan, numerous patients with explosive blast injuries (Coalition and Afghan security forces, and insurgents) were treated. A disparity was noted between the ocular injury patterns of US and Coalition forces in comparison with their Afghan counterparts, which were overwhelmingly influenced by the use, or lack thereof, of eye protection. Computed tomography imaging coupled, with a correlative clinical examination, demonstrated the spectrum of ocular injuries that can result from an explosive blast. Patient examination was performed by Navy radiologists and an ophthalmologist. A cultural analysis by was performed to understand why eye protection was not used, even if available to Afghan forces, by the injured patients in hope of bridging the gap between Afghan cultural differences and proper operational risk management of combat forces.

Lead Exposure in the Special Operations Shooter How to Prevent Cognitive Decline and Permanent Disability

Brandon JW, Solarczyk JK, Durrani TS 18(1). 81 - 87 (Journal Article)

Lead toxicity is an important environmental disease and its effects on the human body can be devastating. Unique exposures to Special Operations Forces personnel may include use of firing ranges, use of automotive fuels, production of ammunition, and bodily retention of bullets. Toxicity may degrade physical and psychological fitness, and cause long-term negative health outcomes. Specific effects on fine motor movements, reaction times, and global function could negatively affect shooting skills and decision-making. Biologic monitoring and chelation treatment are poor solutions for protecting this population. Through primary prevention, Special Operations Forces personnel can be protected, in any environment, from the devastating effects of lead exposure. This article offers tools to physicians, environmental service officers, and Special Operations Medics for primary prevention of lead poisoning in the conventional and the austere or forward deployed environments.

Successful Use of Ketamine as a Prehospital Analgesic by Pararescuemen During Operation Enduring Freedom

Lyon RF, Schwan C, Zeal J, Kharod C, Staak BP, Petersen CD, Rush SC 18(1). 70 - 73 (Journal Article)

Effective analgesia is a crucial part of the care and resuscitation of a traumatically injured patient. These secondary effects of pain may increase morbidity and mortality in the acutely injured patient. When ketamine is administered appropriately in the clinical setting, it can provide analgesia, anxiolysis, and amnesia for patients with less respiratory depression and hypotension than equivalent doses of opioid analgesics.

Blood Lead Toxicity Analysis of Multipurpose Canines and Military Working Dogs

Reid P, George C, Byrd CM, Miller L, Lee SJ, Motsinger-Reif A, Breen M, Hayduk DW 18(1). 74 - 76 (Journal Article)

Special Operations Forces and their accompanying tactical multipurpose canines (MPCs) who are involved in repeated live-fire exercises and military operations have the potential for increased blood lead levels and toxicity due to aerosolized and environmental lead debris. Clinical lead-toxicity symptoms can mimic other medical disorders, rendering accurate diagnosis more challenging. The objective of this study was to examine baseline lead levels of MPCs exposed to indoor firing ranges compared with those of nontactical military working dogs (MWDs) with limited or no exposure to the same environment. In the second part of the study, results of a commercially available, human-blood lead testing system were compared with those of a benchtop inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis technique. Blood samples from 18 MPCs were tested during routine clinical blood draws, and six samples from a canine group with limited exposure to environmental lead (nontactical MWDs) were tested for comparison. There was a high correlation between results of the commercial blood-testing system compared with ICP-MS when blood lead levels were higher than 4.0µg/dL. Both testing methods recorded higher blood lead levels in the MPC blood samples than in those of the nontactical MWDs, although none of the MPC samples tested contained lead levels approaching those at which symptoms of lead toxicity have previously been reported in animals (i.e., 35µg/dL).

Intramuscular Tranexamic Acid in Tactical and Combat Settings

Vu EN, Wan WC, Yeung TC, Callaway DW 18(1). 62 - 68 (Journal Article)

Background: Uncontrolled hemorrhage remains a leading cause of preventable death in tactical and combat settings. Alternate routes of delivery of tranexamic acid (TXA), an adjunct in the management of hemorrhagic shock, are being studied. A working group for the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care reviewed the available evidence on the potential role for intramuscular (IM) administration of TXA in nonhospital settings as soon as possible from the point of injury. Methods: EMBASE and MEDLINE/PubMed databases were sequentially searched by medical librarians for evidence of TXA use in the following contexts and/or using the following keywords: prehospital, trauma, hemorrhagic shock, optimal timing, optimal dose, safe volume, incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE), IM bioavailability. Results: A total of 183 studies were reviewed. The strength of the available data was variable, generally weak in quality, and included laboratory research, case reports, retrospective observational reviews, and few prospective studies. Current volume and concentrations of available formulations of TXA make it, in theory, amenable to IM injection. Current bestpractice guidelines for large-volume injection (i.e., 5mL) support IM administration in four locations in the adult human body. One case series suggests complete bioavailability of IM TXA in healthy patients. Data are lacking on the efficacy and safety of IM TXA in hemorrhagic shock. Conclusion: There is currently insufficient evidence to support a strong recommendation for or against IM administration of TXA in the combat setting; however, there is an abundance of literature demonstrating efficacy and safety of TXA use in a broad range of patient populations. Balancing the available data and risk- benefit ratio, IM TXA should be considered a viable treatment option for tactical and combat applications. Additional studies should focus on the optimal dose and bioavailability of IM dosing of patients in hemorrhagic shock, with assessment of potential downstream sequelae.

Laboratory Model of a Collapsible Tube to Develop Bleeding Control Interventions

Griffin LV, Kragh JF, Dubick MA 18(1). 47 - 52 (Journal Article)

Background: To develop knowledge of mechanical control of bleeding in first aid, a laboratory model was set up to simulate flow through a blood vessel. A collapsible tube was used to mimic an artery in two experiments to determine (1) the extent of volumetric flow reduction caused by increases in the degree of compression of the vessel and (2) the extent of flow reduction caused by increases in the length of compression. Methods: Water was used in vertical tubing. Gravity applied a pressure gradient of about 100mmHg to cause flow. A silicone tube (10mm-diameter lumen [the inner opening], 1mm-thick wall, 150mm length) was used. Tests of no compression of the external wall constituted the control group for both experiments. For all groups, flow volume was sampled over a period of time, and six samples were averaged. In both experiments, the study group consisted of tests with compression that was measured as the reduced area of the luminal cross section. In the first experiment, six groups with luminal area reductions of 0% (control), 74%, 81%, 91%, 94%, and 97% were tested. In the second experiment at 74% luminal area reduction, the three lengths of compression were 5mm, 20mm, and 70mm. The measured data were compared with calculated data by applying established mathematical equations. Results: In the first experiment, flow decreased with decreasing area due to luminal compression, but the association was a parabolic curve such that 94% or greater reduction in luminal area was required to reduce flow by greater than 50%. A reduction in luminal area of 97% reduced flow by 95%. In the second experiment, mean flow rates were not significantly different among the three lengths of compression. Measured data and calculated data were in good agreement. Conclusions: Compared with an uncompressed vessel, volumetric flow of water through a single, unsupported collapsible tube in steady, nonpulsatile conditions with compression applied to its external wall to produce a reduction in luminal area of 97% reduced flow by 95%. Flow was affected by the degree of compression but not by the length of compression.

The Myth of Hyperresilience Evolutionary Concept Analysis of Resilience in Special Operations Forces

Rocklein Kemplin K, Paun O, Sons N, Brandon JW 18(1). 54 - 60 (Journal Article)

Despite many resilience studies and resilience-building initiatives in the military, resilience as a concept remains granularly unexamined, vague, and inconsistently interpreted throughout military-specific research literature. Specifically, studies of military suicide and related mental health constructs assert that Servicemembers in Special Operations Forces (SOF) possess higher levels of resilience without providing an empirical basis for these statements. To provide rigorous evidence for future studies of resilience in SOF, a concept analysis was performed via Rodgers' evolutionary method to contextualize resilience in the SOF community and provide accurate redefinitions on which theoretical and methodological frameworks can be constructed reliably.

Editorial Response

Keenan S 18(1). 139 - 140 (Editorial)

Feasibility and Proposed Training Pathway for Austere Application of Resuscitative Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta

Ross EM, Redman TT 18(1). 37 - 43 (Case Reports)

Background: Noncompressible junctional and truncal hemorrhage remains a significant cause of combat casualty death. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is an effective treatment for many junctional and noncompressible hemorrhages. The current hospital standard for time of placement of REBOA is approximately 6 minutes. This study examined the training process and the ability of nonsurgical physicians to apply REBOA therapy in an austere field environment. Methods: This was a skill acquisition and feasibility study. The participants for this experiment were two board-certified military emergency medicine physicians with no prior endovascular surgery exposure. Both providers attended two nationally recognized REBOA courses for training. A perfused cadaver model was developed for the study. Each provider then performed REBOA during different phases of prehospital care. Time points were recorded for each procedure. Results: There were 28 REBOA catheter placement attempts in 14 perfused cadaver models in the nonhospital setting: eight placements in a field setting, eight placements in a static ambulance, four placements in a moving ambulance, and eight placements inflight on a UH-60 aircraft. No statistically significant differences with regard to balloon inflation time were found between the two providers, the side where the catheter was placed, or individual cadaver models. Successful placement was accomplished in 85.7% of the models. Percutaneous access was successful 53.6% of the time. The overall average time for REBOA placement was 543 seconds (i.e., approximately 9 minutes; median, 439 seconds; 95% confidence interval [CI], 429-657) and the average placement time for percutaneous catheters was 376 seconds (i.e., 6.3 minutes; 95% CI, 311-44 seconds) versus those requiring vascular cutdown (821 seconds; 95% CI, 655-986). Importantly, the time from the decision to convert to open cutdown until REBOA placement was 455 seconds (95% CI, 285-625). Conclusion: This study demonstrated that, with proper training, nonsurgical providers can properly place REBOA catheters in austere prehospital settings at speeds

Versatility With Far Forward Damage Control Surgery: Successful Resuscitative Thoracotomy in an HH-60 Black Hawk

Pieper MA, Vonderharr MJ, Knutson TL, Sullivan JL, Allison CG, Englert Z 19(1). 20 - 22 (Case Reports)

The military conflicts of the past 17 years have taught us many lessons, including the evolution of the tiered trauma system with en route resuscitation. The evolution of the conflict has begun to limit the reach of this standard trauma system. Recent evidence suggests that 95% of early deaths resulting from traumatic injuries may be prevented if the patient can undergo damage control surgery within 23 minutes of injury. US Military Surgical Resuscitation Teams have been developed to shorten this time from injury to surgical care, as illustrated by this case report.

Bringing Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) Closer to the Point of Injury

Pasley JD, Teeter WA, Gamble WB, Wasick P, Romagnoli AN, Pasley AM, Scalea TM, Brenner ML 18(1). 33 - 36 (Case Reports)

Background: The management of noncompressible torso hemorrhage remains a significant issue at the point of injury. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) has been used in the hospital to control bleeding and bridge patients to definitive surgery. Smaller delivery systems and wirefree devices may be used more easily at the point of injury by nonphysician providers. We investigated whether independent duty military medical technicians (IDMTs) could learn and perform REBOA correctly and rapidly as assessed by simulation. Methods: US Air Force IDMTs without prior endovascular experience were included. All participants received didactic instruction and evaluation of technical skills. Procedural times and pretest/posttest examinations were administered after completion of all trials. The Likert scale was used to subjectively assess confidence before and after instruction. Results: Eleven IDMTs were enrolled. There was a significant decrease in procedural times from trials 1 to 6. Overall procedural time (± standard deviation) decreased from 147.7 ± 27.4 seconds to 64 ± 8.9 seconds (ρ < .001). There was a mean improvement of 83.7 ± 24.6 seconds from the first to sixth trial (ρ < .001). All participants demonstrated correct placement of the sheath, measurement and placement of the catheter, and inflation of the balloon throughout all trials (100%). There was significant improvement in comprehension and knowledge between the pretest and posttest; average performance improved significantly from 36.4.6% ± 12.3% to 71.1% ± 8.5% (ρ < .001). Subjectively, all 11 participants noted significant improvement in confidence from 1.2 to 4.1 out of 5 on the Likert scale (ρ < .001). Conclusion: Technology for aortic occlusion has advanced to provide smaller, wirefree devices, making field deployment more feasible. IDMTs can learn the steps required for REBOA and perform the procedure accurately and rapidly, as assessed by simulation. Arterial access is a challenge in the ability to perform REBOA and should be a focus of further training to promote this procedure closer to the point of injury. Keywords: hemorrhage control; independent duty medical technician; resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta; REBOA

Unstable Pelvic Fracture Reduction Under Ultrasonographic Control

Goudard Y, Camus D, de Landevoisin ES, Dobost C, Domos P, Balandraud P 19(1). 16 - 18 (Case Reports)

Managing acute trauma cases in military and low-resource environments usually requires adapted medicosurgical protocols to achieve best medical results with limited technical capacity. We report a case of unstable pelvic fracture that needed ultrasonographic assessment for closed reduction before external stabilization. In our opinion, ultrasonographic control should be considered as a useful technique for unstable pelvic fracture reduction and an alternative to radiographic control.

Patella Fracture in US Servicemember in an Austere Location

Schermerhorn SM, Auchincloss PJ, Kraft K, Nelson KJ, Pamplin JC 18(1). 142 - 144 (Journal Article)

Objective: Review the management of a patient with acute patella fracture supported by telemedical consultation. Clinical Context: Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) supporting US Army Africa/Southern European Task Force (USARAF/ SETAF) in Africa Command area of responsibility. Care was provided by a Role I facility on the compound. Organic Expertise: Three 68W combat medics; one Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM). Closest Medical Support: Organic battalion physician assistant (PA) located in the United States; USARAF PA located in a European country; French Role II located in nearby West African country; telemedical consults via e-mail, phone, or videoteleconsultation. Earliest Evacuation: Estimated at 12 to 24 hours with appropriate clearances.

An Unusual Wound Infection Due to Acinetobacter junii on the Island of Oahu: A Case Report

Griffin J, Barnhill JC, Washington MA 19(1). 14 - 15 (Case Reports)

The genus Acinetobacter has long been associated with war wounds. Indeed, A baumannii was responsible for so many infected wounds during Operation Iraqi Freedom that it was given the nickname "Iraqibacter." Therefore, it is important to monitor the occurrence and spread of Acinetobacter species in military populations and to identify new or unusual sources of infection. A junii is an infrequently reported human pathogen. Here, we report a case of a slow-healing wound infection with A junii in a woman on the island of Oahu. This case highlights the pathogenic potential of this organism and the need for proper wound care when dealing with slow-healing wounds of unknown etiology. It also underscores the need for identifying species of Acinetobacter that are not A baumannii to better understand the epidemiology of slow-healing wound infections.

Adapting to Death: Clarifying the Roles of Special Operations Combat Medics in Prolonged Field Care

Jeschke EA 18(4). 153 - 156 (Journal Article)

I suggest that Special Operations Forces (SOF) medicine should explicitly acknowledge the Special Operations combat medic's role in attending death. This acknowledgment will allow researchers to evaluate and delimit the medic's needs in relationship to an expanded set of roles that move beyond life-saving care. This article comprises four sections. First, I provide background to my argument by exploring some assumptions of modern medicine and objections to exploring battlefield death care. Second, I describe how I see the medic's role expanding with the introduction of prolonged field care. Third, I address the implications of the medic's expanded role in relationship to role and function stress and strain. Fourth, I address the moral complexity related to withdrawing or withholding care. I conclude by briefly highlighting some of the implications for future research. In explicitly engaging death as a medical reality for which the medic ought to be prepared, SOF medicine could set the foundational development for seeing death as a valuable gift to be explored, not a failure to be avoided or burden to be overcome.

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

Knapik JJ, Pope R, Hoedebecke SS, Schram B, Orr R, Lieberman HR 18(4). 139 - 147 (Journal Article)

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disorder involving deterioration of articular cartilage and underlying bone and is associated with symptoms of pain and disability. Glucosamine is a component of articular cartilage naturally synthesized in the body from glucose and incorporated into substances contained in the cartilage. It has been suggested that consumption of glucosamine may reduce the pain of OA and may have favorable effects on structural changes in the cartilage. This article presents a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of orally consumed glucosamine sulfate (GS) on OA-related pain and joint structural changes. Methods: PubMed and Ovid Embase were searched using specific search terms to find randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials on the effects of GS on pain and/or joint-space narrowing. The outcome measure was the standardized mean difference (SMD), which was the improvement in the placebo groups minus the improvement in the GS groups divided by the pooled standard deviation. Results: There were 17 studies meeting the review criteria for pain, and the summary SMD was -0.35, with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = -0.54 to -0.16 (negative SMD is in favor of GS). Of the 17 studies, 7 showed a statistically significant reduction in pain from GS use. Four studies met the review criteria for joint space narrowing with a summary SMD = -0.10 (95% CI = -0.23 to +0.04). Studies without involvement of the commercial glucosamine industry had a lower (but still significant) pain reduction efficacy (summary SMD = -0.19, 95% CI = -0.39 to -0.02) than those with industry involvement. Several smaller dosages throughout the day had larger pain reduction effects than a single daily large dose (1500 mg). Conclusion: These data indicate that GS may have a small to moderate effect in reducing OA-related pain but little effect on joint-space narrowing. Until there is more definitive evidence, healthcare providers should be cautious in recommending use of GS to their patients. Because GS dosages used in studies to date resulted in mild and transient adverse effects, and these were similar to that experienced by patients receiving placebos, larger GS doses possibly could be investigated in future studies.

Thrown for a Loop

Urbaniak MK, Hampton K 18(4). 148 (Journal Article)

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