Background: Noncompressible junctional and truncal hemorrhage remains a significant cause of combat casualty death. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is an effective treatment for many junctional and noncompressible hemorrhages. The current hospital standard for time of placement of REBOA is approximately 6 minutes. This study examined the training process and the ability of nonsurgical physicians to apply REBOA therapy in an austere field environment.
Methods: This was a skill acquisition and feasibility study. The participants for this experiment were two board-certified military emergency medicine physicians with no prior endovascular surgery exposure. Both providers attended two nationally recognized REBOA courses for training. A perfused cadaver model was developed for the study. Each provider then performed REBOA during different phases of prehospital care. Time points were recorded for each procedure.
Results: There were 28 REBOA catheter placement attempts in 14 perfused cadaver models in the nonhospital setting: eight placements in a field setting, eight placements in a static ambulance, four placements in a moving ambulance, and eight placements inflight on a UH-60 aircraft. No statistically significant differences with regard to balloon inflation time were found between the two providers, the side where the catheter was placed, or individual cadaver models. Successful placement was accomplished in 85.7% of the models. Percutaneous access was successful 53.6% of the time. The overall average time for REBOA placement was 543 seconds (i.e., approximately 9 minutes; median, 439 seconds; 95% confidence interval [CI], 429-657) and the average placement time for percutaneous catheters was 376 seconds (i.e., 6.3 minutes; 95% CI, 311-44 seconds) versus those requiring vascular cutdown (821 seconds; 95% CI, 655-986). Importantly, the time from the decision to convert to open cutdown until REBOA placement was 455 seconds (95% CI, 285-625).
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that, with proper training, nonsurgical providers can properly place REBOA catheters in austere prehospital settings at speeds.