Effects of Distance Between Paired Tourniquets

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    Wall PL, Buising CM, Nelms D, Grulke L, Renner CH, Sahr SM 17(4). 37 - 44 (Journal Article)

    Background: In practice, the distance between paired tourniquets varies with unknown effects. Methods: Ratcheting Medical Tourniquets were applied to both thighs of 15 subjects distally (fixed location) and proximally (0, 2, 4, 8, 12cm gap widths, randomized block). Applications were pair, single distal, single appropriate proximal. Tightening ended one-ratchet tooth advance past Doppler-indicated occlusion. Pairs had alternating tightening starting distal. Results: Occlusion pressures were higher for: each single than respective individual pair tourniquet, each pair distal than respective pair proximal, and each single distal than respective single proximal (all p < .0001). Despite thigh circumference increasing proximally, occlusion pressures were lower with proximal tourniquet involvement (pair or single, p < .0001). Occlusion losses before 120 seconds occurred most frequently with pairs (0cm 4, 2cm 4, 4cm 6, 8cm 7, 12cm 5 for 26 of 150), in increasing frequency with increasingly proximal singles (0cm 0, 2cm 1, 4cm 1, 8cm 2, 12cm 6 for 10 of 150, p < .0001 for trend), and least with single distal (2 of 150, p < .0001). Paired tourniquets required fewer ratchet advances per tourniquet (pair distal 5 ± 1, pair proximal 4 ± 1, single distal 6 ± 1, single proximal 6 ± 1). Final ratchet tooth advancement pressure increases (mmHg) were greatest for singles (distal 61 ± 10, proximal 0cm 53 ± 7, 2cm 51 ± 9, 4cm 50 ± 7, 8cm 45 ± 7, 12cm 36 ± 7) and least in pairs (distal 41 ± 8, proximal 32 ± 7) with progressively less pair interaction as distance increased (pressure change for the pair tourniquet not directly advanced: 0cm 13 ± 4, 2cm 10 ± 4, 4cm 6 ± 3, 8cm 1 ± 2, 12cm -1 ± 2). Conclusions: Occlusion pressures are lower for paired than single tourniquets despite variable intertourniquet distances. Very proximal placement has a pressure advantage; however, pairs and very proximal locations may be less likely to maintain occlusion. Increasingly proximal placements also increase tissue at risk; therefore, distal placements and minimal intertourniquet distances should still be recommended.

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