Effects of Donning and Wearing Personal Protective Equipment on Tourniquet Use and Conversion

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Kragh JF, Le TD, Dubick MA 20(4). 40 - 46 (Journal Article)

Background: We sought to gather data about the effects of personal protective equipment (PPE) use on tourniquet interventions by preliminarily developing a way to simulate delay effects, particularly on time and blood loss. Such knowledge might aid readiness. Field calls to emergency departments may indicate donning of PPE before patient arrival. The purpose of this study was to investigate (1) delay effects of donning the PPE studied on field-tourniquet control of hemorrhage and (2) delay effects of wearing the PPE on application of a field tourniquet and its conversion to a pneumatic tourniquet. Methods: The experiment simulated 30 tests of nonpneumatic field tourniquet use (http://www.combattourniquet.com/wp -content). The research intervention was the use of PPE. Data were grouped. The control group had no PPE (PPE0). PPE1 and PPE2 groups had mostly improvised and off-the-shelf equipment, respectively. PPE1 included donning a coat, goggles, face covering, cap, booties, and gloves. PPE2 had analogous items. The group order was randomized. A test included paired trials: field tourniquet, followed by conversion. An investigator simulated the caregiver. A task trainer simulated a thigh amputation. Donning delays were evaluated as differences in mean times to stop bleeding compared with PPE0. Blood loss results from donning PPE were calculated as the delay multiplied by its bleeding rate, 500mL/min. Results: PPE0 had no delay: its mean blood loss was 392mL. PPE1 had 805mL more blood loss than PPE0 did. PPE2 exceeded PPE0 by 1004mL. Donning time (blood loss) for PPE1 and PPE2 were 1.4 minutes (712mL) and 1.7 minutes (863mL), respectively. The wearing of PPE did not slow down field tourniquet application or its conversion. Conclusions: How long it took to don PPE delayed the time to stop bleeding and increased blood loss, but wearing PPE slowed down neither field tourniquet application nor its conversion.

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