Limb Position Change Affects Tourniquet Pressure


Wall PL, Buising CM, Hingtgen E, White A, Jensen J 21(1). 11 - 17 (Journal Article)

Background: Limb position changes are likely during transport from injury location to definitive care. This study investigated passive limb position change effects on tourniquet pressure and occlusion. Methods: Triplicate buddy-applied OMNA® Marine Tourniquet applications to Doppler-based occlusion were done to sitting and laying supine mid-thigh (n=5) and sitting mid-arm (n=3). Tourniqueted limb positions were bent/straight/bent and straight/bent/straight (randomized first position order, 5 seconds/position, pressure every 0.1 second, two-way repeated measures ANOVA). Results: Sitting thigh occlusion pressures leg bent were higher than straight (median, minimum-maximum; 328, 307-403mmHg versus 312, 295-387mmHg, p = .013). In each recipient, the pressure change for each position change for each limb had p < .003. In each recipient, when sitting, leg bent to straight increased pressure (326, 276-415mmHg to 371, 308-427mmHg bent first and 275, 233-354mmHg to 311, 241-353mmHg straight first), and straight to bent decreased pressure (371, 308-427mmHg to 301, 262-388mmHg bent first and 312, 265-395mmHg to 275, 233-354mmHg straight first). When laying, position changes from leg bent first resulted in pressure changes in each recipient but not in the same directions in each recipient. From laying leg straight first, in each recipient changing to bent increased the pressure (295, 210-366mmHg to 328, 255-376mmHg) and to straight decreased the pressure (328, 255-376 mmHg to 259, 210-333 mmHg). Sitting arm bent occlusion pressures were lower than straight (230, 228-252mmHg versus 256, 250-287mmHg, p = .026). Arm position changes resulted in pressure changes in each recipient but not in the same directions in each recipient. Changes in pressure trace character (presence or absence of rhythmically pulsatile traces) and Doppler-based occlusion were consistent with limb position-induced changes in tourniquet pressure (each p ≤ .001 leg, p = .071 arm traces, and p = .188 arm occlusion). Conclusions: Passive limb position changes can cause significant changes in tourniquet pressure. Therefore, tourniquet adequacy should be reassessed after any limb position change.

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