Blood Product Administration During Transport Throughout the US Africa Command Theater of Operation

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21(3). 66 - 70 (Journal Article)

Background: United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) is one of six US Defense Department's geographic combatant commands and is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for military relations with African nations, the African Union, and African regional security organizations. A full-spectrum combatant command, US AFRICOM is responsible for all US Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters. We seek to characterize blood product administration within AFRICOM using the in-transit visibility tracking tool known as TRAC2ES (TRANSCOM Regulating and Command & Control Evacuation System). Methods: We performed a retrospective review of TRAC2ES medical evacuations from the AFRICOM theater of operations conducted between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2018. Results: During this time, there were 963 cases recorded in TRAC2ES originating within AFRICOM, of which 10 (1%) cases received blood products. All patients were males. One was a Department of State employee, one was a military working dog, and the remainder were military personnel. Of the ten humans, seven were the result of trauma, most by way of gunshot wound, and three were due to medical causes. Among human subjects receiving blood products for traumatic injuries, a total of 5 units of type O negative whole blood, 29 units of packed red blood cells (pRBCs), and 9 units of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) were transfused. No subjects underwent massive transfusion of blood products, and only one subject received pRBCs and FFP in 1:1 fashion. All subjects survived until evacuation. Conclusions: Within the TRAC2ES database, blood product administration within AFRICOM was infrequent, with some cases highlighting lack of access to adequate blood products. Furthermore, the limitations within this database highlight the need for systems designed to capture medical care performance improvement, as this database is not designed to support such analyses. A mandate for performance improvement within AFRICOM that is similar to that of the US Central Command would be beneficial if major improvements are to occur.

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