Temporizing Life-Threatening Abdominal-Pelvic Hemorrhage Using Proprietary Devices, Manual Pressure, or a Single Knee: An Integrative Review of Proximal External Aortic Compression and Even "Knee BOA"


O'Dochartaigh D, Picard CT, Brindley PG, Douma MJ 20(2). 110 - 114 (Journal Article)

Introduction: Abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage (i.e., originates below the diaphragm and above the inguinal ligaments) is a major cause of death. It has diverse etiology but is typically associated with gunshot or stab wounds, high force or velocity blunt trauma, aortic rupture, and peripartum bleeds. Because there are few immediately deployable, temporizing measures, and the standard approaches such as direct pressure, hemostatics, and tourniquets are less reliable than they are with compressible extremity injuries, risk for death resulting from abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage is high. This review concerns the exciting potential of proximal external aortic compression (PEAC) as a temporizing technique for life-threatening lower abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage. PEAC can be accomplished by means of a device, two locked arms (manual), or a single knee (genicular) to press over the midline supra-umbilical abdomen. The goal is to compress the descending aorta and slow or halt downstream hemorrhage while not delaying more definitive measures such as hemostatic packing, tourniquets, endovascular balloons, and ultimately operative repair. Methods: Clinical review of the Ovid MEDLINE, In-Process, & Other Non-Indexed, and Google Scholar databases was performed for the period ranging from 1946 to 3 May 2019 for studies that included the following search terms: [proximal] external aortic compression OR vena cava compression AND (abdomen or pelvis) OR (hemorrhage) OR (emergency or trauma). In addition, references from included studies were assessed. Conclusion: Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Evidence was grouped and summarized from the specialties of trauma, aortic surgery, and obstetrics to help prehospital responders and guide much-needed additional research, with the goal of decreasing the high risk for death after life-threatening abdominal-pelvic hemorrhage.

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