Single versus Double Routing of the Band in the Combat Application Tourniquet

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Clumpner BR, Polston RW, Kragh JF, Westmoreland T, Harcke HT, Jones JA, Dubick MA, Baer DG, Blackbourne LH 13(1). 34 - 41 (Journal Article)

Background: Common first aid tourniquets, like the Combat Application Tourniquet (CAT) of a windlass and band design, can have the band routed through the buckle in three different ways, and recent evidence indicates users may be confused with complex doctrine. Objective: The purpose of the present study is to measure the differential performance of the three possible routings in order to better understand good tourniquet practice. Methods: A training manikin was used by two investigators to measure tourniquet effectiveness, time to stop bleeding, and blood loss. Results: The effectiveness rate was 99.6% (239/240) overall. Results were similar for both single-slit routings (inside vs. outside, p > 0.05). Effectiveness rates (yes-no results for hemorrhage control expressed as a proportion of iterations) were not statistically different between single and double routing. However, the time to stop bleeding and blood loss were statistically different (ρ < 0.05). Conclusions: CAT band routing, through the buckle either singly or doubly, affects two key performance criteria: time to stop bleeding and volume of blood lost. Single routing proved to be faster, thereby saving more blood. Learning curves required to optimize user performance varied over 30-fold depending on which variable was selected (e.g., effectiveness vs. blood loss).

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