The Use of Tourniquets in the Russo-Ukrainian War


Samarskiy IM, Khoroshun EM, Vorokhta Y 24(1). 67 (Journal Article)

Aim: The objective of the study was to evaluate the use of tourniquets in the Russo-Ukrainian war. Methods: The type, number, and duration of tourniquets per limb, the clinical course of limb injuries, and the functional status of the injured limbs during the 24 hours post-injury were evaluated in military hospital facilities for the period of 2014-2022. Statistical frequencies and variances were analyzed. Results: During active hostilities, the medical units of the Southern Operational Command received 2,496 patients with limb injuries that required the application of tourniquets. Lower extremity injuries were predominantly observed (84.4%). A single tourniquet was used in 1,538 cases (61.6%), whereas two tourniquets were used in 533 (21.4%), and three tourniquets in 425 cases (17.0%). During the 2014- 2021 period, Esmarch's tourniquet was most commonly used. However, in 2022, it was mostly replaced by the Combat Application Tourniquet and similar systems (e.g., Sich, Dnipro). The duration of the tourniquet use ranged from 50 to 380 minutes (mean 205.9 [standard error 8.1] min), which prolonged ischemia in a significant number of cases. Limb amputations, mainly due to extensive necrosis, were performed in 92 cases (3.7%). In addition to 101 deaths (4.0% of patients), 11 cases of severe tourniquet syndrome were encountered. The limb was salvaged in 9 cases (81.8%). Conclusion: Prompt triage and evacuation of injured combatants can save affected limbs, even when the duration of tourniquet use exceeds 2 hours. Tourniquet syndrome can be prevented using a hemostatic tourniquet.

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