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21/03/2015

Tourniquet: Efficace, uniquement si serré fort

Forward Assessment of 79 Prehospital Battlefield Tourniquet Use in the Current War

King DR et Al. J Spec Oper Med. 2012 Winter;12(4):33-8.

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La pose libérale d'un garrot est présentée comme étant un facteur essentiel de survie des blessés des membres. Encore faut il que ces derniers soient posés de manière correcte. Le document présenté laisse planer un gros doute. En effet il met en évidence qu'un garrot est mis en place 3 fois sur 4 alors qu'il n'y a pas de lésion vasculaire notable et que la plupart des garrots posés ne sont pas suffisamment serrés et sont en fait des garrots veineux. Pire seuls 1/3 des blessés ayant des lésions artérielles se voient appliquer un garrot artériel. C'est dire qu'une attention particulière doit être portée sur l'abolition du pouls artériel distal. Il s'agit là d'un enjeu pédagogique majeur.

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Introduction:

Battlefield tourniquet use can be lifesaving, but most reports are from hospitals with knowledge gaps remaining at the forward surgical team (FST). The quality of tourniquet applications in forward settings remain unknown. The purpose of this case series is to describe observations of tourniquet use at an FST in order to improve clinical performance.

Methods:

War casualties with tourniquet use presenting to an FST in Afghanistan in 2011 were observed. We identified appliers by training, device effectiveness, injury pattern, and clinical opportunities for improvement. Feedback was given to treating medics.

Results:

Tourniquet applications (79) were performed by special operations combat medics (47, 59%), flight medics (17, 22%), combat medics (12, 15%), and general surgeons (3, 4%). Most tourniquets were Combat Application Tourniquets (71/79, 90%). With tourniquets in place upon arrival at the FST, most limbs (83%, 54/65) had palpable distal pulses present; 17% were pulseless (11/65). Of all tourniquets, the use was venous in 83% and arterial in 17%. In total, there were 14 arterial injuries, but only 5 had effective arterial tourniquets applied.

Discussion:

Tourniquets are liberally applied to extremity injuries on the battlefield. 17% were arterial and 83% were venous tourniquets. When ongoing bleeding or distal pulses were appreciated, medics tightened tourniquets under surgeon supervision until distal pulses stopped. Medics were generally surprised at how tight a tourniquet must be to stop arterial flow–convert a venous tourniquet into an arterial tourniquet. Implications for sustainment training should be considered with regard to this life-saving skill.

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