Unwrapping a First Aid Tourniquet From Its Plastic Wrapper With and Without Gloves Worn: A Preliminary Study

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    Kragh JF, Aden JK, Lambert CD, Moore VK, Dubick MA 17(3). 25 - 34 (Journal Article)

    Background: The purpose of this study was to gather data about unwrapping a packaged limb tourniquet from its plastic wrapper while wearing different types of gloves. Because already unwrapped tourniquets require no time to unwrap, unwrapping data may provide insights into the issue of having tourniquets unwrapped when stowed in a first aid kit of a Serviceperson at war. Materials and Methods: In a laboratory setting, 36 tests of nine glove groups were performed in which four people, gloved and ungloved, unwrapped tourniquets. Other tourniquets were environmentally exposed for 3 months. Results: All the users successfully unwrapped each tourniquet. Mean times to unwrap by glove group were not significantly different (ρ = .0961). When mean values of eight experimental groups were compared with that of one control group (i.e., bare hands), results showed no significant difference (ρ >.07). Mean time was least for bare hands (12 seconds) and most for cold gloves layered under mittens (22 seconds). Among the 36 pairwise comparisons of difference between glove group means, after adjustment for multiple comparisons, no comparison was noted to be statistically significant (ρ > .052, all 36 pairs). Glove thickness ranged from 0 mm for bare hands to 2.5 mm for cold gloves layered under mittens. By glove group, the thickness-time association was moderate, as tested by linear regression (R2 = 0.6096). The tourniquets exposed to the environment had evidence of rapid photodegradation due to direct exposure to sunlight. Such exposure also destroyed the wrappers. Conclusion: In a preliminary study, different gloves performed similarly when wearers unwrapped a tourniquet from its wrapper. The tourniquet wrappers gave no visible protection from sunlight, and environmental exposure destroyed the wrappers.

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