This is pretty amazing. Forever, abdominal injuries have always been the toughest to deal with on the battlefield for medics, as cutting off blood flow to the area is incredibly difficult and such injuries can cause someone to bleed out in mere minutes.
Well, a new innovative tourniquet is looking to change all that. Invented by a former U.S. Army Special Forces medic, the tourniquet buckles around a victim’s abdomen, and when pumped with air becomes a wedge shape that puts about 80 pounds of pressure on the abdominal aorta, cutting off blood flow to the pelvis.
It requires little to no training to use and can be utilized in a multitude of settings both in military and civilian life.
Some special operations medics in Afghanistan now have a new device that helps save soldiers with the most common cause of preventable death in combat: a traumatic pelvic wound.
Unlike a hemorrhage in the arm or leg where a tourniquet can be used to shut off bleeding, there was no way until recently to do the same for wounds in the lower torso, which can kill a person in a matter of minutes.
It was “a noted capability gap on the battlefield: How do we treat bleeding where we can’t use tourniquets?” said John Croushorn, a former Army doctor.
After serving as a flight surgeon in Iraq, Croushorn and former combat medic Richard Schwartz devised an inflatable tourniquet that buckles around a victim’s abdomen, and when pumped with air becomes a wedge shape that puts about 80 pounds of pressure on the abdominal aorta, cutting off blood flow to the pelvis. Ted Westmoreland, a former medic with U.S. Army Special Operations, then helped devise the windlass that twists to tighten the device so it stays in place.
One person with minimal training can have it out of the bag and applied in about 60 seconds, and it doesn’t need to be done by a medic, Croushorn said, because the device doesn’t require precise positioning.
In 2007, they applied for a patent, which is pending, and the FDA approved the Abdominal Aortic Tourniquet in 2011.
Junctional tourniquets like the AAT started hitting the market in recent years. Despite that short period of time, the scientific research backing up its use is “reasonably well established to date,” according to retired Col. John Kragh, of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. “The AAT in particular has a good scientific foundation. The very limited use in care is due to the fact that the service has yet to field them widely.”
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