Complications associated with prolonged tourniquet application on the battlefield.
The use of a tourniquet to control bleeding is a necessity in both surgical and prehospital settings. Tourniquet application, if performed properly, can be a lifesaving procedure, particularly in a traumatic setting such as the battlefield. A tourniquet is easily applied and requires the use of a relatively uncomplicated piece of equipment. However, improper or prolonged placement of a tourniquet because of poor medical training can lead to serious injuries, such as nerve paralysis and limb ischemia. Here we present five case reports of improper tourniquet applications on the battlefield that resulted in nerve damage. We conclude that there is a need for improved training among medical personnel in the use of tourniquets, as well as a need for an adjustable-pressure, commercial-type sphygmomanometer cuff with a large surface area that is appropriate for application to all limbs parts. We also recommend that, in cases requiring the use of a tourniquet, the caregiver remove the tourniquet every 2 hours and assess the bleeding; if the bleeding has stopped, then the tourniquet should be replaced with a pressure bandage to minimize tissue damage.
J. Recannati Autonomic Nervous System Research Laboratory, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, 31096.
SourceMilitary medicine 173:1 2008 Jan pg 63-6
Emergency Service, Hospital
Wounds and Injuries
Pub Type(s)Case Reports