Tourniquets in Trauma Care: A Review of Application

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Abstract

Traumatic hemorrhage has been identified as the leading cause of battlefield death in recent conflicts. Although injury patterns are not directly reproducible to the civilian world, treatment advancements can be used to provide care to patients worldwide. Long-standing dogma regarding the use of tourniquets has been disproved, and there is now recognition of the critical role that tourniquets play in trauma care. The history and evolution of tourniquets, including the identification of previous faults in application, will lead to an examination of the current devices in use along with evidence-based recommendations for use. A review of ongoing programs to reduce hemorrhage as a cause of death in civilian and law enforcement medicine promotes the application analysis. Tourniquets, as simple technology, have the potential to save many lives through appropriate use, but preconceived myths and notions have limited its use to combat medicine. An increase in utilization could have a much greater impact in areas other than combat.

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