23.4% Hypertonic Saline: A Tactical Option for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury With Impending or Ongoing Herniation

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DeSoucy ES, Cacic K, Staak BP, Petersen CD, van Wyck D, Rajajee V, Dorsch J, Rush SC 21(2). 25 - 28 (Journal Article)

There are limited options available to the combat medic for management of traumatic brain injury (TBI) with impending or ongoing herniation. Current pararescue and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines prescribe a bolus of 3% or 5% hypertonic saline. However, this fluid bears a tactical burden of weight (~570g) and pack volume (~500cm3). Thus, 23.4% hypertonic saline is an attractive option, because it has a lighter weight (80g) and pack volume (55cm3), and it provides a similar osmotic load per dose. Current literature supports the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline in the management of acute TBI, and evidence indicates that it is safe to administer via peripheral and intraosseous cannulas. Current combat medic TBI treatment algorithms should be updated to include the use of 23.4% hypertonic saline as an alternative to 3% and 5% solutions, given its effectiveness and tactical advantages.

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