Junctional tourniquets have been incorporated into tactical combat casualty care for junctional vascular trauma. They apply external compression to stop blood flow in the groin and axilla.
The primary outcome was effectiveness in achieving arterial occlusion. Secondary outcomes included time to application and pain scores.
Medline and EMBASE databases were searched.
Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods
A random-effects meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the average effectiveness and time to effective application for each device.
Eight studies reported the effectiveness of junctional tourniquets in healthy volunteers. The average effectiveness was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15–87%) for the abdominal application of the abdominal aortic and junctional tourniquet (AAJT), 83% (95% CI, 73–89%; 26%) for the junctional Emergency Treatment Tool, 87% (95% CI, 79–92%; 15%) for the SAM junctional tourniquet (SJT), and 95% (95% CI, 90–98%) for the Combat Ready Clamp. The groin application of the AAJT was studied in two articles with 100% in both studies. The average time to application was 101 seconds for the SAM junctional tourniquet (95% CI, 50–152 seconds) and the Combat Ready Clamp (95% CI, 63–139 seconds), while it was 130 seconds (95% CI, 85–176 seconds) for the Junctional Emergency Treatment Tool. The abdominal application of AAJT had an average time to application of 92 and 171 seconds in two studies.
All studies were conducted in healthy volunteers.
CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS
Junctional tourniquets may meet a medical need in combat, and in the civilian environment, to control hemorrhage from these difficult injuries. All four Food and Drug Administration–approved devices demonstrate the ability to achieve vascular occlusion in healthy volunteers; however, effectiveness in patient transport has not been evaluated, and outcomes of their use in the field need to be captured and reported.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Systematic review, level III.