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Cricothyrotomy and chest needle decompression (NDC) have a high failure and complication rate. This article sought to determine whether paramedics can correctly identify the anatomical landmarks for cricothyrotomy and chest NDC.
A prospective study using human models was performed. Paramedics were partnered and requested to identify the location for cricothyrotomy and chest NDC (both mid-clavicular and anterior axillary sites) on each other. A board-certified or board-eligible emergency medicine physician timed the process and confirmed location accuracy. All data were collected de-identified. Descriptive analysis was performed on continuous data; chi-square was used for categorical data.
A total of 69 participants were recruited, with one excluded for incomplete data. The paramedics had a range of six to 38 (median 14) years of experience. There were 28 medical training officers (MTOs) and 41 field paramedics. Cricothyroidotomy location was correctly identified in 56 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 2.0 to 38.2 (median 8.6) seconds. Chest NDC (mid-clavicular) location was correctly identified in 54 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 3.4 to 25.0 (median 9.5) seconds. Chest NDC (anterior axillary) location was correctly identified in 43 of 68 participants with a time to identification range of 1.9 to 37.9 (median 9.6) seconds. Chi-square (2-tail) showed no difference between MTO and field paramedic in cricothyroidotomy site (P = .62), mid-clavicular chest NDC site (P = .21), or anterior axillary chest NDC site (P = .11). There was no difference in time to identification for any procedure between MTO and field paramedic.
Both MTOs and field paramedics were quick in identifying correct placement of cricothyroidotomy and chest NDC location sites. While time to identification was clinically acceptable, there was also a significant proportion that did not identify the correct landmarks.
Procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) is a core competency for emergency physicians (EP) that is commonly practiced.1–4 PSA entails suppressing a patient’s level of consciousness with sedative or dissociative agents to alleviate pain, anxiety, and suffering to enhance medical procedure performance and patient experience (Table 22.1).1,5
Select units in the military have improved combat medic training by integrating their functions into routine clinical care activities with measurable improvements in battlefield care. This level of integration is currently limited to special operations units. It is unknown if regular Army units and combat medics can emulate these successes. The goal of this project was to determine whether US Army combat medics can be integrated into routine emergency department (ED) clinical care, specifically medication administration.
This was a quality assurance project that monitored training of combat medics to administer parenteral medications and to ensure patient safety. Combat medics were provided training that included direct supervision during medication administration. Once proficiency was demonstrated, combat medics would prepare the medications under direct supervision, followed by indirect supervision during administration. As part of the quality assurance and safety processes, combat medics were required to document all medication administrations, supervising provider, and unexpected adverse events. Additional quality assurance follow-up occurred via complete chart review by the project lead.
During the project period, the combat medics administered the following medications: ketamine (n=13), morphine (n=8), ketorolac (n=7), fentanyl (n=5), ondansetron (n=4), and other (n=6). No adverse events or patient safety events were reported by the combat medics or discovered during the quality assurance process.
In this limited case series, combat medics safely administered parenteral medications under indirect provider supervision. Future research is needed to further develop this training model for both the military and civilian setting.
SchauerSG, CunninghamCW, FisherAD, DeLorenzoRA. A Pilot Project Demonstrating that Combat Medics Can Safely Administer Parenteral Medications in the Emergency Department. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(6):679–681.
Ventilation with a bag valve mask (BVM) is a challenging but critical skill for airway management in the prehospital setting.
Tidal volumes received during single rescuer ventilation with a modified BVM with supplemental external handle will be higher than those delivered using a standard BVM among health care volunteers in a manikin model.
This study was a randomized crossover trial of adult health care providers performing ventilation on a manikin. Investigators randomized participants to perform single rescuer ventilation, first using either a BVM modified by addition of a supplemental external handle or a standard unmodified BVM (Spur II BVM device; Ambu; Ballerup, Denmark). Participants performed mask placement and delivery of 10 breaths per minute for three minutes, as guided by a metronome. After a three-minute rest period, they performed ventilation using the alternative device. The primary outcome measure was mean received tidal volume as measured by the manikin (IngMar RespiTrainer model; IngMar Medical; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA). Secondary outcomes included subject device preference.
Of 70 recruited participants, all completed the study. The difference in mean received tidal volume between ventilations performed using the modified BVM with external handle versus standard BVM was 20 ml (95% CI, -16 to 56 ml; P=.28). There were no significant differences in mean received tidal volume based on the order of study arm allocation. The proportion of participants preferring the modified BVM over the standard BVM was 47.1% (95% CI, 35.7 to 58.6%).
The modified BVM with added external handle did not result in greater mean received tidal volume compared to standard BVM during single rescuer ventilation in a manikin model.
ReedP, ZobristB, CasmaerM, SchauerSG, KesterN, AprilMD. Single Rescuer Ventilation Using a Bag Valve Mask with Removable External Handle: A Randomized Crossover Trial. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(6):625–630.
Mass-casualty (MASCAL) events are known to occur in the combat setting. There are very limited data at this time from the Joint Theater (Iraq and Afghanistan) wars specific to MASCAL events. The purpose of this report was to provide preliminary data for the development of prehospital planning and guidelines.
Cases were identified using the Department of Defense (DoD; Virginia USA) Trauma Registry (DoDTR) and the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR). These cases were identified as part of a research study evaluating Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) guidelines. Cases that were designated as or associated with denoted MASCAL events were included.
Fifty subjects were identified during the course of this project. Explosives were the most common cause of injuries. There was a wide range of vital signs. Tourniquet placement and pressure dressings were the most common interventions, followed by analgesia administration. Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC) was the most common parenteral analgesic drug administered. Most were evacuated as “routine.” Follow-up data were available for 36 of the subjects and 97% were discharged alive.
The most common prehospital interventions were tourniquet and pressure dressing hemorrhage control, along with pain medication administration. Larger data sets are needed to guide development of MASCAL in-theater clinical practice guidelines.
SchauerSG, AprilMD, SimonE, MaddryJK, CarterR III, DelorenzoRA. Prehospital Interventions During Mass-Casualty Events in Afghanistan: A Case Analysis. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2017;32(4):465–468.
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