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Tourniquets in Trauma Care

A Review of Application

Cornelius, Brian DNPc, CRNA, NRP; Campbell, Ryan MD; McGauly, Pat MD, FAAEM

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000290

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.

Tactical Medical Unit, Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, Shreveport, Louisiana (Drs Cornelius and McGauly); Department of Anesthesia, University Health Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana (Dr Cornelius); and Department of Emergency Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center–Shreveport (Drs Campbell and McGauly).

Correspondence: Brian Cornelius, DNPc, CRNA, NRP, Department of Anesthesia, University Health Shreveport, 1501 Kings Hwy, Shreveport, LA 71103 (

Author Contributions: Brian Cornelius—primary manuscript author; Ryan Campbell—second manuscript author, abstract, conclusion, proof reading; Pat McGauly—third manuscript author, proof reading.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.