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Differences in Stress Shoot Performance Among Special Forces Operators Who Participate in a Human Performance Program Versus Those Who Do Not

Canada DM, Dawes JJ, Lindsay KG, Elder C, Goldberg P, Bartley N, Werth K, Bricker D, Fischer T 18(4). 64 - 68 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this investigation was to determine if Army Special Operation Forces (ARSOF) Operators who participate in the Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation and Reconditioning program perform significantly better on a simulated stress shoot scenario than ARSOF Operators who do not participate in the program. Methods: Deidentified archival data from 64 male ARSOF Operators (mean ± standard deviation: age, 31.1 ± 4.96 years; SOF experience, 3.44 ± 4.10 years) who participated in the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat stress shoot were assessed to determine if differences in performance existed between program users (n = 25) and nonusers (n = 39). A series of bootstrapped analyses of variance in conjunction with effect-size calculations was conducted to determine if significant mean score differences existed between users and nonusers on raw and total course completion times, high-value target acquisition (positive identification time), and penalties accrued. Results: Small to medium effect sizes were observed between users and nonusers in raw time, penalties, and total time. Although there were no significant differences between users and nonusers, there was less variation in raw time and total time in users compared with nonusers. Conclusion: Our findings becomes a question of practical versus statistical significance, because less performance variability while under physical and psychological duress could be life saving for ARSOF Operators.

Use Your Noodle to Simulate Tourniquet Use on a Limb With and Without Bone

Kragh JF, Zhao NO, Aden JK, Dubick MA 18(4). 57 - 63 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to simulate first aid by mechanical use of a limb tourniquet on a thigh with and without bone to better understand best caregiving practices. Methods: Two investigators studied simulated first aid on a new pool "noodle," a plastic cylinder with a central air tunnel into which we inserted a wood dowel to simulate bone. Data were gathered by group (study and control, n = 12 each). The control group comprised data collected from simulated tourniquet use on the model with bone present. The study group comprised data from simulated tourniquet use on the model without bone. Results: Comparing compression with and without bone, the mean volumes of compressed soft tissues alone were 303mL and 306mL, respectively. When bone was present, the volume of soft tissues was squeezed more, yielding a smaller size by 3mL (1%). The bone had a volume of 41mL and pressed statically outward with an equal force oppositely directed to the inward compression of the overlying soft tissues. With bone removed and compression applied, the mean residual void was 16mL, because 25mL (i.e., 41mL minus 16mL) of soft tissues had collapsed inward. The volume of the limb under the tourniquet with and without bone was 344mL and 322mL, respectively. The collapse volume, 25mL, was 3mL more than the difference of the mean volume of the limb under the tourniquet. More limb squeeze (22mL) looked like better compression, but it was actually worse-an illusion created by collapse of the hidden void. Conclusion: In simulated first aid, mechanical modeling demonstrated how tourniquet compression applied to a limb squeezed the soft tissues better when underlying bone was present. Bone loss altered the compression profile and may complicate control of bleeding in care. This knowledge, its depiction, and its demonstration may inform first-aid instructors.

Advanced Resuscitative Care in Tactical Combat Casualty Care: TCCC Guidelines Change 18-01:14 October 2018

Butler FK, Holcomb JB, Shackelford S, Barbabella S, Bailey JA, Baker JB, Cap AP, Conklin CC, Cunningham CW, Davis MS, DeLellis SM, Dorlac WC, DuBose JJ, Eastridge B, Fisher AD, Glasser JJ, Gurney J, Jenkins DA, Johannigman J, King DR, Kotwal RS, Littlejohn LF, Mabry RL, Martin MJ, Miles EA, Montgomery HR, Northern DM, O'Connor KC, Rasmussen TE, Riesberg JC, Spinella PC, Stockinger Z, Strandenes G, Via DK, Weber MA 18(4). 37 - 55 (Journal Article)

TCCC has previously recommended interventions that can effectively prevent 4 of the top 5 causes of prehospital preventable death in combat casualties-extremity hemorrhage, junctional hemorrhage, airway obstruction, and tension pneumothorax- and deaths from these causes have been markedly reduced in US combat casualties. Noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) is the last remaining major cause of preventable death on the battlefield and often causes death within 30 minutes of wounding. Increased use of whole blood, including the capability for massive transfusion, if indicated, has the potential to increase survival in casualties with either thoracic and/or abdominopelvic hemorrhage. Additionally, Zone 1 Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) can provide temporary control of bleeding in the abdomen and pelvis and improve hemodynamics in casualties who may be approaching traumatic cardiac arrest as a result of hemorrhagic shock. Together, these two interventions are designated Advanced Resuscitative Care (ARC) and may enable casualties with severe NCTH to survive long enough to reach the care of a surgeon. Although Special Operations units are now using whole blood far-forward, this capability is not routinely present in other US combat units at this point in time. REBOA is not envisioned as care that could be accomplished by a unit medic working out of his or her aid bag. This intervention should be undertaken only by designated teams of advanced combat medical personnel with special training and equipment.

Use of Drone Technology for Delivery of Medical Supplies During Prolonged Field Care

Mesar T, Lessig A, King DR 18(4). 34 - 35 (Journal Article)

Background: Care of trauma casualties in an austere environment presents many challenges, particularly when evacuation is not immediately available. Man-packable medical supplies may be consumed by a single casualty, and resupply may not be possible before evacuation, particularly during prolonged field care scenarios. We hypothesized that unmanned aerial drones could successfully deliver life-sustaining medical supplies to a remote, denied environment where vehicle or foot traffic is impossible or impractical. Methods: Using an unmanned, rotary- wing drone, we simulated delivery of a customizable, 4.5kg load of medical equipment, including tourniquets, dressings, analgesics, and blood products. A simulated casualty was positioned in a remote area. The flight was preprogrammed on the basis of grid coordinates and flew on autopilot beyond visual range; data (altitude, flight time, route) were recorded live by high-altitude Shadow drone. Delivery time was compared to the known US military standards for traversing uneven topography by foot or wheeled vehicle. Results: Four flights were performed. Data are given as mean (± standard deviation). Time from launch to delivery was 20.77 ± 0.05 minutes (cruise speed, 34.03 ± 0.15 km/h; mean range, 12.27 ± 0.07 km). Medical supplies were delivered successfully within 1m of the target. The drone successfully returned to the starting point every flight. Resupply by foot would take 5.1 hours with an average speed of 2.4km/h and 61.35 minutes, with an average speed of 12 km/h for a wheeled vehicle, if a rudimentary road existed. Conclusion: Use of unmanned drones is feasible for delivery of life-saving medical supplies in austere environments. Drones repeatedly and accurately delivered medical supplies faster than other methods without additional risk to personnel or manned airframe. This technology may have benefit for austere care of military and civilian casualties.

Guerrilla Hospital Design and Lessons Learned

Farr WD 18(4). 30 - 33 (Journal Article)

The author discusses the lessons that can be learned from older sources when engaging in guerilla warfare medicine and surgery.

Pneumonitis and Respiratory Failure Secondary to Civilian Exposure to a Smoke Bomb in a Partially Enclosed Space

Murray BP, Ralston SA, Dunkley CA, Carpenter JE, Geller RJ, Kazzi Z 18(4). 24 - 26 (Case Reports)

Smoke grenades are used during drills, police and military exercises, and crowd control. We report on a 25-year-old man who was exposed to a Superior 3C smoke bomb. He was initially stable but developed respiratory distress after 3 days and ultimately developed pulmonary fibrosis with marked loss in pulmonary function. The Superior 3C smoke bomb is similar in composition to the British Military's L83A1/2 and L132A1 and the US M18 smoke grenades, all commonly used as multipurpose smoke-producing devices for combat and training. They are primarily composed of zinc oxide and hexachlorethane, the combustion of which produces zinc chloride. These devices are safe when used properly in open air but can cause significant morbidity in an enclosed space. This case emphasizes the potential hazards of using smoke bombs even in semienclosed spaces and the potential delay in the development of significant pulmonary complications.

Larger-Caliber Alternative Devices for Decompression of Tension Hemopneumothorax in the Setting of Hemorrhagic Shock

McEvoy CS, Leatherman ML, Held JM, Fluke LM, Ricca RL, Polk T 18(4). 18 - 23 (Case Reports)

Background: The 14-gauge (14G) angiocatheter (AC) has an unacceptably high failure rate in treatment of tension pneumothorax (tPTX). Little is known regarding the interplay among hemorrhage, hemothorax (HTX), and tPTX. We hypothesized that increased hemorrhage predisposes tension physiology and that needle decompression fails more often with increased HTX. Methods: This is a planned secondary analysis of data from our recent comparison of 14G AC with 10-gauge (10G) AC, modified 14G Veress needle, and 3mm laparoscopic trocar conducted in a positive pressure ventilation tension hemopneumothorax model using anesthetized swine. Susceptibility to tension physiology was extrapolated from volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) instilled and time required to induce 50% reduction in cardiac output. Failures to rescue and recover were compared between the 10% and 20% estimated blood volume (EBV) HTX groups and across devices. Results: A total of 196 tension hemopneumothorax events were evaluated. No differences were noted in the volume of CO2 instilled nor time to tension physiology. HTX with 10% EBV had fewer failures compared with 20% HTX (7% versus 23%; p = .002). For larger-caliber devices, there was no difference between HTX groups, whereas smaller-caliber devices had more failures and longer time to rescue with increased HTX volume as well as increased variability in times to rescue in both HTX volume groups. Conclusion: Increased HTX volume did not predispose tension physiology; however, smaller-caliber devices were associated with more failures and longer times to rescue in 20% HTX as compared with 10% HTX. Use of larger devices for decompression has benefit and further study with more profound hemorrhage and HTX and spontaneous breathing models is warranted.

Medicine on the Edge of Darkness

Christensen PA 18(1). 150 - 154 (Journal Article)

Austere care of the wounded is challenging for all Western medical professionals-nurse, medic, or physician. There can be no doubt that working for the first time, either for a nongovernment organization or in the Special Forces, you will be taking care of wounded patients outside your training and experience. You must have the ability to adapt to and overcome lack of resources and equipment, and accept standards of treatment often very different and lower than that common in western hospitals. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was asked to provide relief for the Pakistan Red Crescent in 1982 and set up the ICRC Hospital for Afghan War Wounded in Peshawar on the border to Afghanistan. This article relates how a western-trained young anesthetist on a ICRC surgical team experienced this, at the time, austere environment.

I Can't Breathe-A SIPe of Water

Urbaniak MK, Hampton K 18(1). 145 (Journal Article)

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.

Prehospital Medicine and the Future Will ECMO Ever Play a Role?

Macku D, Hedvicak P, Quinn JM, Bencko V 18(1). 133 - 138 (Journal Article)

Due to the hybrid warfare currently experienced by multiple NATO coalition and NATO partner nations, the tactical combat casualty care (TCCC) paradigm is greatly challenged. One of the major challenges to TCCC is the ad hoc extension phase in resource-poor environments, referred to as prolonged field care (PFC) and forward resuscitative care (FRC). The nuanced clinical skills with limited resources required by warfighters and auxiliary health care professionals to mitigate death on the battlefield and prevent morbidity and mortality in the PFC phase represent a balance that is still under review. The aim of our article is to describe the connection between extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) or the extracorporeal life support (ECLS) treatment and its possible improvement in prehospital trauma care, at a Role 1 or 2 facility and, more provocatively, in the PFC phase of care in the future through innovative technology and how it connects with FRC. We report and describe here the primary components of ECMO/ECLS and present the main concept of a human extracorporeal circulation cocoon as a transitional living form for the cardiopulmonary stabilization of wounded combatants on the battlefield and their transportation to higher echelons of care and treatment facilities (to include damage control resuscitation [DCR] and damage control surgery [DCS]). As clinical governance, these matters would fall within the remit of the Committee on Surgical Combat Casualty Care (CoSCCC) and the Committee on Enroute Combat Casualty Care (CoERCCC), and it is within this framework that we propose this concept piece of ECMO in the prehospital space. We caution that this report is a proposed innovation to TCCC but also serves to push the envelope of the PFC and FRC paradigm. What we propose will not change the practice this year, but as ECMO technology progresses, it may change our practice within the next decade. We conclude with proposed novel future research to save life on the battlefield with ECMO as a major challenge and one worth the focus of further research. Medicine is controversial and constantly changing; for those who work in prehospital and battlefield medicine, change is the only constant on which we rely, and without provocative discussion that makes our systems and practice more robust, we will fail.

Documentation in Prolonged Field Care

Loos PE, Glassman E, Doerr D, Dail R, Pamplin JC, Powell D, Riesberg JC, Keenan S, Shackelford S 18(1). 126 - 132 (Journal Article)

Integrating Chemical Biological, Radiologic, and Nuclear (CBRN) Protocols Into TCCC Introduction of a Conceptual Model - TCCC + CBRN = (MARCHE)2

DeFeo DR, Givens ML 18(1). 118 - 123 (Journal Article)

The authors would like to introduce TCCC [Tactical Combat Casualty Care] + CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear] = (MARCHE)2 as a conceptual model to frame the response to CBRN events. This model is not intended to replace existing and well-established literature on CBRNE events but rather to serve as a response tool that is an adjunct to agent specific resources.

Epidemiological Evidence and Possible Mechanisms for the Association Between Cigarette Smoking and Injuries (Part 1)

Knapik JJ, Bedno SA 18(1). 108 - 112 (Journal Article)

Surveys indicated that 24% of military personnel are current cigarette smokers. Smoking is well known to increase the risk of cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, reproductive problems, and other medical maladies, but one of the little known effects of smoking is that on injuries. There is considerable evidence from a variety of sources that (1) smoking increases overall injury risk, (2) the greater the amount of smoking, the higher is the injury risk, and (3) smoking is an independent injury risk factor. Smoking not only affects the overall injury risk but also impairs healing processes following fractures (e.g., longer healing times, more nonunions, more complications), ligament injury (e.g., lower subjective function scores, greater joint laxity, lower subsequent physical activity, more infections), and wounding (e.g., delayed healing, more complications, less satisfying cosmetic results). Smoking may elicit effects on fractures through low bone mineral density (BMD), lower dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, altered calcium metabolism, and effects on osteogenesis and sex hormones. Effects on wound healing may be mediated through altered neutrophils and monocytes functions resulting in reduced ability to fight infections and remove damaged tissue, reduced gene expression of cytokines important for tissue healing, and altered fibroblast function leading to lower density and amount of new tissue formation. Limited data suggest smoking cessation has favorable effects on various aspects of bone health over periods of 1 to 30 years. Favorable effects on neutrophil and monocyte functions may occur as early as 4 weeks, but fibroblast function and collagen metabolism (important for wound remodeling) appear to take considerably longer and may be dependent on the amount of prior smoking. Part 2 of this series will use this information to explore the possibility of a causal relationship between smoking and injuries.


Burnett MW 18(1). 106 - 107 (Journal Article)

Spiritual Fitness: An Essential Component of Human Performance Optimization

Worthington D, Deuster PA 18(1). 100 - 105 (Journal Article)

Spirituality is a key interweaving and interacting domain, and an integral component for maintaining Special Operations Forces readiness; however, it remains an under-researched and likely one of the most poorly understood domains of Preservation of the Force and Family and Total Force Fitness initiatives. Although there are numerous factors that contribute to spiritual performance or spiritual fitness, core values and value-directed living are essential. An initial step toward spiritual performance or fitness is developing core values and identity, followed by a second step toward spiritual performance or fitness, which is developing an increased awareness and deeper understanding of those values. This process of developing core values and identity, and building awareness can be enhanced through cognitive flexibility and agility (psychological performance domain). This article explains the importance of "spirituality" as a component of Special Operations Forces performance and describes approaches to enhancing performance through various spiritual activities, including mindfulness, meditation, and prayer. These three practices can be adapted and modified to be more vertical or more horizontal in their application.

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.

Routine Screening Laboratory Studies for Nonheat Stroke Field Heat Injuries Are Unnecessary: A Retrospective Review

Schauer SG, Pfaff JA 18(1). 88 - 90 (Journal Article)

Background: Heat injuries are common in the military training environment. Base policies often mandate that heat causalities require evaluation at a higher level of care, which comes at significant use of resources. Laboratory studies are often ordered routinely, but their utility is unclear at this time. Methods: This project evaluated the use of screening laboratory studies for heat casualties brought to Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, Fort Polk, Louisiana. Casualties brought from the field directly to the emergency department (ED) were included. Abnormalities in laboratory study findings, admission/discharge rates, and length of stay were documented. Results: From May through September 2014, 104 casualties were seen in the ED because of heat injury. Laboratory tests were ordered for 101 patients. Of these, 11 patients were admitted to the hospital because of laboratory, history, and/or physical examination abnormalities. Nine were discharged in less than 24 hours. The remaining two were discharged within 48 hours; both had documented altered mental status on arrival to the ED. Laboratory test abnormalities were seen in most of the patients and appeared to have no impact on the decision to admit. Conclusion: Routine laboratory studies appeared to have low clinical utility in this patient population. A more targeted approach based on the history and physical examination may reduce military resource use.

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.

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.

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