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QuikClot® Combat Gauze® Use by Ground Forces in Afghanistan The Prehospital Trauma Registry Experience

Schauer SG, April MD, Naylor JF, Fisher AD, Cunningham CW, Ryan KL, Thomas KC, Brillhart DB, Fernandez JD, Antonacci MA 17(2). 101 - 106 (Journal Article)

Background: QuikClot® Combat Gauze® (QCCG) was fielded in 2008 to replace previous generations of hemostatic products. To the best of our knowledge, despite nearly a decade of use, there are no published data on use among US combatant forces. We describe the use of QCCG by ground forces in Afghanistan and compare patients who received QCCG compared with the remaining population in the database who did not receive QCCG. Methods: Data were obtained from the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR). Joint Trauma System personnel linked patients to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR) for outcome data, when available, upon reaching a fixed facility. Results: Of the 705 patients within the entire PHTR, 118 (16.7%) had documented use of QCCG. Most patients (69.5%) were Afghan; all were male. Lower extremities accounted for the most common site of application (39.7%). Hemorrhage control occurred in 88.3% of encounters with hemorrhage control status documented. Patients receiving QCCG generally had higher rates of concomitant interventions. Of the 705 patients, 190 were linkable to the DODTR for outcome data; 25 of the 28 (89.3%) in the QCCG group were discharged alive compared with 153 of the 162 (94.4%) in the non-QCCG group (ρ = .300). Conclusion: QCCG appears to have common use on the battlefield as a concomitant intervention for obtaining hemorrhage control. Patients receiving QCCG had higher rates of gunshot wounds compared with the baseline population and were generally sicker. Hemorrhage control success was like that reported in other military and civilian settings.

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Headache

Banting J, Meriano T 17(2). 108 - 111 (Journal Article)

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Manikin Human-Patient Simulator Training

Horn GT 17(2). 89 - 95 (Journal Article)

Background: Human-patient simulators (HPSs) may help enhance medical education. Manikin HPS devices respond to common field medical interventions, such as cricothyroidotomy, and have realistic feedback features, such as respirations and pulses. This study surveys Special Operations Medics for evaluations of HPS features. Methods: Of 518 subjects, 376 completed testing and surveys with valid responses. A total of 102 variables were divided into three categories-general characteristics, procedures, and injuries-and assessed on a fivepoint Likert scale. The Student t test was used to analyze data together and as separate groups against each other and against an aggregated mean. Results: Features that received high scores (i.e., higher than 4.5/5) corresponded closely with pillars of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculum, basic life support, and realism. Discussion: US Army Special Operations Command and US Special Operations Command Medics have overall high confidence in manikin HPS devices and specifically in those that align with TCCC training and lifesaving procedures. The skills most valued coincide with difficult-to-practice measures, such as cricothyroidotomy and wound packing. Features such as prerecorded sounds, sex, automated movements, skin color, defibrillation, bowel sounds, and electrocardiogram are rated lower. These evaluations may guide future development or procurement of manikin HPS devices.

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Intubation of the Right Atrium During an Attempted Modified Surgical Airway in a Pig

Bowman J, Juergens A, McClure M, Spear D 17(2). 96 - 100 (Journal Article)

In modern medicine, the surgical cricothyrotomy is an airway procedure of last resort. In austere environments, however, its simplicity may make it a more feasible option than carrying a full complement of laryngoscopes. To create a Transportation Security Agency-compliant compact first-response bag, we attempted to establish a surgical cricothyrotomy in a pig, using trauma shears, basic medical scissors, a pocket bougie, and an endotracheal tube. Bougies can provide tactile feedback via the "tracheal ring sign" and "stop sign" to indicate positive tracheal placement during orotracheal intubation. We report on a previously unknown serious potential complication that questions the use of scissors to establish a surgical airway and the reliability of tactile bougie signs when translated into certain surgical airways.

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The Sole Provider: Preparation for Deployment to a Medically Austere Theater

Corso P, Mandry C, Reynolds S 17(2). 74 - 81 (Journal Article)

The combat focus of the US Military over the past 15 years has primarily centered on the Iraq and Afghanistan areas of operation (AOs). Thus, much human and financial capital has been dedicated to the creation of a robust medical infrastructure to support those operations. However, Special Operation Forces (SOF) are often called upon to deploy in much more medically austere AOs. SOF medical providers operating in such environments face significant challenges due to the diversity of medical threats, extremely limited access to medical resupply, a material shortage of casualty evacuation platforms, lack of medical facilities, and limited access to higher-level care providers. This article highlights the challenges faced during a recent Special Forces deployment to such an austere environment. Many of these challenges can be mitigated with a specific approach to premission training and preparation.

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Albumin for Prehospital Fluid Resuscitation of Hemorrhagic Shock in Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Studer NM, April MD, Bowling F, Danielson PD, Cap AP 17(2). 82 - 88 (Journal Article)

Optimal fluid resuscitation on the battlefield in the absence of blood products remains unclear. Contemporary Combat medics are generally limited to hydroxyethyl starch or crystalloid solutions, both of which present significant drawbacks. Obtaining US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved freeze-dried plasma (FDP) is a top casualty care research priority for the US Military. Interest in this agent reflects a desire to simultaneously expand intravascular volume and address coagulopathy. The history of FDP dates to the Second World War, when American expeditionary forces used this agent frequently. Also fielded was 25% albumin, an agent that lacks coagulation factors but offers impressive volume expansion with minimal weight to carry and requires no reconstitution in the field. The current potential value of 25% albumin is largely overlooked. Although FDP presents an attractive future option for battlefield prehospital fluid resuscitation once FDA approved, this article argues that in the interim, 25% albumin, augmented with fibrinogen concentrate and tranexamic acid to mitigate hemodilution effects on coagulation capacity, offers an effective volume resuscitation alternative that could save lives on the battlefield immediately.

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Rapid Vision Correction by Special Operations Forces

Reynolds ME 17(2). 60 - 64 (Journal Article)

Background: This report describes a rapid method of vision correction used by Special Operations Medics in multiple operational engagements. Methods: Between 2011 and 2015, Special Operations Medics used an algorithm- driven refraction technique. A standard block of instruction was provided to the medics, along with a packaged kit. The technique was used in multiple operational engagements with host nation military and civilians. Data collected for program evaluation were later analyzed to assess the utility of the technique. Results: Glasses were distributed to 230 patients with complaints of either decreased distance or near (reading). Most patients (84%) with distance complaints achieved corrected binocular vision of 20/40 or better, and 97% of patients with near-vision complaints achieved corrected near-binocular vision of 20/40 or better. There was no statistically significant difference between the percentages of patients achieving 20/40 when medics used the technique under direct supervision versus independent use. Conclusion: A basic refraction technique using a designed kit allows for meaningful improvement in distance and/or near vision at austere locations. Special Operations Medics can leverage this approach after specific training with minimal time commitment. It can serve as a rapid, effective intervention with multiple applications in diverse operational environments.

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The Role I Resuscitation Team and Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta

Fisher AD, Teeter WA, Cordova CB, Brenner ML, Szczepanski MP, Miles EA, Galante JM, DuBose JJ, Rasmussen TE 17(2). 65 - 73 (Journal Article)

The medical advancements made during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in an unprecedented survival rate, yet there is still a significant number of deaths that were potentially survivable. Additionally, the ability to deliver casualties to definitive surgical care within the "golden hour" is diminishing in many areas of conflict. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) has been implemented successfully in the hospital setting. REBOA may be a possible adjunct for the Role I and point-of-injury (POI) care to provide temporary control of noncompressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) and junctional hemorrhage. Here the authors advocate for the development of the Role I Resuscitation Team (RT) and a training pathway to meet the challenge of the changing battlefield

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Foreign Language Short Course: Special Operations Clinical Research Fundamentals

Kemplin KR, Bowling F 17(2). 12 - 17 (Journal Article)

When we do not know a language, we are at the mercy of an interpreter. The same is true for research: Special Operations Forces (SOF) clinicians not actively involved in research initiatives may rely on scientific interpreters, so it is important to speak some of the language personally. For any clinician, using evidence in practice requires a working knowledge of how that evidence was generated from research, which requires an understanding of research science language. Here we review common basics of research science to reinforce concepts and elements of experimental and nonexperimental research.

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Assessment of Trainer Skill to Control Groin-Wound Bleeding: Use of Junctional Tourniquet Models on a Manikin

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Shackelford S, Moore VK, Dubick MA 17(2). 39 - 48 (Journal Article)

Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the skills of trainers using different junctional tourniquet models to control groin bleeding in a manikin. Materials and Methods: In 204 assessments, 17 trainers used four junctional tourniquet models three times each to control simulated hemorrhage. The models included the Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC), Junctional Emergency Treatment Tool (JETT), Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet (AAJT), and SAM Junctional Tourniquet (SJT). The criteria of assessment included effectiveness (i.e., control [yes-no]), time to stop bleeding, total blood loss, and bleeding rate. Results: All uses were effective. By model, the results of mean blood loss and time to stop bleeding were different with varying levels of statistical significance: control was worst with the JETT and AAJT, moderate with the AAJT and SJT, and best with the SJT and CRoC. The means sharing a level were not significantly different, but a mean in more than one level was not different from itself. The composite outcome results were 90% good for CRoC and 67% good for JETT, whereas results for the SJT and AAJT were in between, and only the result of the CROC and JETT comparison was significant. The ease of use varied significantly; JETT was more difficult to use and all others were easier. The analysis attributed to the users 19% of the variance of results for time, 44% for blood loss volume, and 67% for bleeding rate. Most users preferred the SJT (53% before and 70% after assessment). Conclusion: Effectiveness was attained by all users with each of the four models of junctional tourniquet. The analysis demonstrated that up to 67% of the variance of performance results could be attributed to the users.

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A Prospective Randomized Controlled Two-Arm Clinical Study Evaluating the Efficacy of a Bioelectric Dressing System for Blister Management in US Army Ranger Recruits

Housler GJ, Cross S, Marcel V, Kennedy DO, Husband M, Register A, Roberts T, Grubbs S, Dudewicz D, Setka n, Bay C, Wendelken ME, Izadjoo MJ 17(2). 49 - 58 (Journal Article)

This study focused on a clinically relevant healthcare problem in the military: acute soft tissue wounds, or blisters. The trial was a prospective, controlled, randomized two-arm study evaluating the efficacy of a bioelectric dressing, Procellera®, applied topically two to three times per week for 2 weeks to blisters developed in Ranger trainees during training at Fort Benning, Georgia. A total of 80 US Army Ranger recruits with blister wounds below the knee were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (n = 40/group). The primary goal was to assess the clinical efficacy (rate of healing) of administered Procellera in conjunction with the standard-of-care (SOC) treatment, moleskin and Tegaderm ®, on the healing rate of blisters compared with the SOC treatment alone. The secondary end points for efficacy were the quantities of wound fluid biomarkers and bacterial bioburden. The tertiary end point was assessment of pain in the treatment group compared with that of the control group during the 2-week study. The results showed no statistical difference between the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups in wound healing and pain. Wound fluid was reported for 24 participants (64.9%) in the SOC group and 21 participants (56.8%) in SOC+Procellera group at the baseline measurement (ρ = .475); however, the wounds were devoid of fluid on follow-up visits. The mild nature of the wounds in this study was apparent by the low pain scores at the beginning of the study, which disappeared by the follow-up visits. The average wound sizes were 2.2cm2 and 1.5cm2 for the SOC and SOC+Procellera groups, respectively. This trial protocol should be conducted on open softtissue wounds in severe heat. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical study conducted within the US Army Rangers training doctrine.

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Review of 54 Cases of Prolonged Field Care

DeSoucy E, Shackelford S, DuBose JJ, Zweben S, Rush SC, Kotwal RS, Montgomery HR, Keenan S 17(1). 121 - 129 (Journal Article)

Background: Prolonged field care (PFC) is field medical care applied beyond doctrinal planning time-lines. As current and future medical operations must include deliberate and contingency planning for such events, data are lacking to support efforts. A case review was conducted to define the epidemiology, environment, and operational factors that affect PFC outcomes. Methods: A survey distributed to US military medical providers solicited details of PFC encounters lasting more than 4 hours and included patient demographics, environmental descriptors, provider training, modes of transportation, injuries, mechanism of injury, vital signs, treatments, equipment and resources used, duration of PFC, and morbidity and mortality status on delivery to the next level of care. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze survey responses. Results: Surveys from 54 patients treated during 41 missions were analyzed. The PFC provider was on scene at time of injury or illness for 40.7% (22/54) of cases. The environment was described as remote or austere for 96.3% (52/54) of cases. Enemy activity or weather also contributed to need for PFC in 37.0% (20/54) of cases. Care was provided primarily outdoors (37.0%; 20/54) and in hardened nonmedical structures (37.0%; 20/54) with 42.6% (23/54) of cases managed in two or more locations or transport platforms. Teleconsultation was obtained in 14.8% (8/54) of cases. The prehospital time of care ranged from 4 to 120 hours (median 10 hours), and five (9.3%) patients died prior to transport to next level of care. Conclusion: PFC in the prehospital setting is a vital area of military medicine about which data are sparse. This review was a novel initial analysis of recent US military PFC experiences, with descriptive findings that should prove helpful for future efforts to include defining unique skillsets and capabilities needed to effectively respond to a variety of PFC contingencies.

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Ultrasound-Guided Airway Management in the Austere Setting

Rapp J, Hampton K 17(1). 130 (Journal Article)

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Graduate Medical Education in Tactical Medicine and the Impact of ACGME Accreditation of EMS Fellowships

Tang N, Levy MJ, Margolis AM, Woltman N 17(1). 101 - 104 (Journal Article)

Physician interest in tactical medicine as an area of professional practice has grown significantly over the past decade. The prevalence of physician involvement in terms of medical oversight and operational support of civilian tactical medicine has experienced tremendous growth during this timeframe. Factors contributing to this trend are multifactorial and include enhanced law enforcement agency understanding of the role of the tactical physician, support for the engagement of qualified medical oversight, increasing numbers of physicians formally trained in tactical medicine, and the ongoing escalation of intentional mass-casualty incidents worldwide. Continued vigilance for the sustenance of adequate and appropriate graduate medical education resources for physicians seeking training in the comprehensive aspects of tactical medicine is essential to ensure continued advancement of the quality of casualty care in the civilian high-threat environment.

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Analgesia and Sedation Management During Prolonged Field Care

Pamplin JC, Fisher AD, Penny A, Olufs R, Rapp J, Hampton K, Riesberg J, Powell D, Keenan S, Shackelford S 17(1). 106 - 120 (Journal Article)

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Meningococcal Disease

Burnett MW 17(1). 90 - 92 (Journal Article)

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Load Carriage-Related Paresthesias (Part 2): Meralgia Paresthetica

Knapik JJ, Reynolds K, Orr R, Pope R 17(1). 94 - 100 (Journal Article)

This is the second of a two-part series addressing symptoms, evaluation, and treatment of load carriage- related paresthesias. Part 1 addressed rucksack palsy and digitalgia paresthetica; here, meralgia paresthetica (MP) is discussed. MP is a mononeuropathy involving the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). MP has been reported in load carriage situations where the LFCN was compressed by rucksack hipbelts, pistol belts, parachute harnesses, and body armor. In the US military, the rate of MP is 6.2 cases/10,000 personyears. Military Servicewomen have higher rates than Servicemen, and rates increase with age, longer loadcarriage distance or duration, and higher body mass index. Patients typically present with pain, itching, and paresthesia on the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. There are no motor impairments or muscle weakness, because the LFCN is entirely sensory. Symptoms may be present on standing and/or walking, and may be relieved by adopting other postures. Clinical tests to evaluate MP include the pelvic compression test, the femoral nerve neurodynamic test, and nerve blocks using lidocaine or procaine. In cases where these clinical tests do not confirm the diagnosis, specialized tests might be considered, including somatosensory evoked potentials, sensory nerve conduction studies, high-resolution ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. Treatment should initially be conservative. Options include identifying and removing the compression if it is external, nonsteroidal inflammatory medication, manual therapy, and/or topical treatment with capsaicin cream. Treatments for intractable cases include injection of corticosteroids or local anesthetics, pulsed radiofrequency, electroacupuncture, and surgery. Military medical care providers may see cases of MP, especially if they are involved with units that perform regular operations involving load carriage.

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Basic Biostatistics and Clinical Medicine

Banting J, Meriano T 17(1). 76 (Journal Article)

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Human Performance Optimization and Precision Performance: The Future of Special Operations Human Performance Efforts

Russell A, Deuster PA 17(1). 80 - 89 (Journal Article)

The Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) was launched by the White House to promote individualized medicine. Although the focus of the PMI is on curing disease, we introduce the concept of Precision Performance (P2)- advances that might "enable a new era of human performance optimization through research, technology, and policies that empower warfighters and those who support them to work together toward development of individually optimized performance" (The White House, 2015). We provide a limited review of the current state of the science in human performance optimization (HPO) and show that averages among individuals can be both misleading and potentially counterproductive. Several examples where individual differences have historically presented challenges to HPO research and application are provided, as are ideas on how such differences might be leveraged to enable new opportunities to approach the goal of individually optimized human performance. We end with a few questions likely to be of increasing importance if the notion of P2 continues to evolve and mature; we also provide limited recommendations, given this is a nascent concept. The Special Operations Forces human performance programs can move the science forward by considering and then implementing the infrastructures, processes, and approaches to best identify and exploit emerging tools for ever greater and faster P2 data collection, analyses, sharing, and applications.

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Clinical Image: Visual Estimation of Blood Loss

Donham B, Frondozo R, Petro M, Reynolds A, Swisher J, Knight RM 17(1). 68 - 71 (Journal Article)

Military prehospital providers frequently have to make important clinical decisions with only limited objective information and vital signs. Because of this, accurate estimation of blood loss, at the point of injury, can augment any available objective information. Prior studies have shown that individuals significantly overestimate the amount of blood loss when the amount of hemorrhage is small, and they tend to underestimate the amount of blood loss with larger amounts of hemorrhage. Furthermore, the type of surface on which the blood is deposited can impact the visual estimation of the amount of hemorrhage. To aid providers with the ability to accurately estimate blood loss, we took several units of expired packed red blood cells and deposited them in different ways on varying surfaces to mimic the visual impression of combat casualties.

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