Review: Getting Tourniquets Right = Getting Tourniquets Tight

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    Wall PL, Buising CM, Sahr SM 19(3). 52 - 63 (Journal Article)

    Tourniquet application to stop limb bleeding is conceptually simple, but optimal application technique matters, generally requires training, and is more likely with objective measures of correct application technique. Evidence of problems with application techniques, knowledge, and training can be ascertained from January 2007 to August 2018 PubMed peer-reviewed papers and in Stop The Bleed-related videos. Available data indicates optimal technique when not under fire involves application directly on skin. For nonelastic tourniquets, optimal application technique includes pulling the strap tangential to the limb at the redirect buckle (parallel to the limb-encircling strap entering the redirect buckle). Before engaging the mechanical advantage tightening system, the secured strap should exert at least 150mmHg inward, and skin indentation should be visible. For Combat Application Tourniquets, optimal technique includes the slot in the windlass rod parallel to the stabilization plate during the single 180° turn that should be sufficient for achieving arterial occlusion, which involves visible skin indentation and pressures of 250mmHg to 428mmHg on normotensive adult thighs. Appropriate pressures on manikins and isolated-limb simulations depend on how the under-tourniquet pressure response of each compares to the under-tourniquet pressure response of human limbs for matching tourniquet-force applications. Lack of such data is one of several concerns with manikin and isolated-limb simulation use. Regardless of model or human limb use, pictures and videos purporting to show proper tourniquet application techniques should show optimal tourniquet application techniques and properly applied, arterially occlusive limb tourniquets. Ideally, objective measures of correct tourniquet application technique would be included.

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