Background: In a previous study conducted at a combat support hospital in Iraq, we reported the major lifesaving benefits of emergency tourniquets to stop bleeding in major limb trauma. Morbidity associated with tourniquet use was minor.
Study objectives: The objective of this study is to further analyze emergency tourniquet use in combat casualty care.
Design and setting: This report is a continuation of our previous study of tourniquet use in casualties admitted to a combat support hospital (NCT00517166 at www.ClinicalTrials.gov).
Methods: After verifying comparable methodologies for the first study and the current study, we compared patient results for these two time periods and then pooled data to analyze outcomes with a larger sample size.
Results: The total study population was 499 (232 in the previous study and 267 in the current study). In all, 862 tourniquets were applied on 651 limbs. Survival was 87% for both study periods. Morbidity rates for palsies at the level of the tourniquet were 1.7% for study 1 and 1.5% for study 2; major limb shortening was 0.4% for both. Survival was associated with prehospital application (89% vs. 78% hospital, p < 0.01) and application before the onset of shock (96% vs. 4% after).
Conclusions: This study shows consistent lifesaving benefits and low risk of emergency tourniquets to stop bleeding in major limb trauma.
Published by Elsevier Inc.