Tactical Combat Casualty Care – 2012 Guidelines

Tactical Combat Casualty Care Guidelines
17 September 2012

Basic Management Plan for Care Under Fire
1. Return fire and take cover.
2. Direct or expect casualty to remain engaged as a combatant if
appropriate.
3. Direct casualty to move to cover and apply self-aid if able.
4. Try to keep the casualty from sustaining additional wounds.
5. Casualties should be extricated from burning vehicles or buildings and moved
to places of relative safety. Do what is necessary to stop the burning process.
6. Airway management is generally best deferred until the Tactical Field
Care phase.
7. Stop life-threatening external hemorrhage if tactically feasible:
– Direct casualty to control hemorrhage by self-aid if able.
– Use a CoTCCC-recommended tourniquet for hemorrhage that is
anatomically amenable to tourniquet application.
– Apply the tourniquet proximal to the bleeding site, over the uniform,
tighten, and move the casualty to cover.

Basic Management Plan for Tactical Field Care
1. Casualties with an altered mental status should be disarmed
immediately.
2. Airway Management
a. Unconscious casualty without airway obstruction:
– Chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver
– Nasopharyngeal airway
– Place casualty in the recovery position
b. Casualty with airway obstruction or impending airway obstruction:
– Chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver
– Nasopharyngeal airway
– Allow casualty to assume any position that best protects the airway, to
include sitting up.
– Place unconscious casualty in the recovery position.
– If previous measures unsuccessful:
– Surgical cricothyroidotomy (with lidocaine if
conscious)
3. Breathing
a. In a casualty with progressive respiratory distress and
known or suspected torso trauma, consider a tension
pneumothorax and decompress the chest on the side of the injury
with a 14-gauge, 3.25 inch needle/catheter unit inserted in the
second intercostal space at the midclavicular line. Ensure that the
needle entry into the chest is not medial to the nipple line and is
not directed towards the heart. An acceptable alternate site is the
4th or 5th intercostal space at the anterior axillary line (AAL).
b. All open and/or sucking chest wounds should be treated by
immediately applying an occlusive material to cover the defect
and securing it in place. Monitor the casualty for the potential
development of a subsequent tension pneumothorax.
c. Casualties with moderate/severe TBI should be given supplemental oxygen
when available to maintain an oxygen saturation > 90%.
4. Bleeding
a. Assess for unrecognized hemorrhage and control all sources of
bleeding. If not already done, use a CoTCCC-recommended tourniquet to
control life-threatening external hemorrhage that is anatomically amenable to
tourniquet application or for any traumatic amputation. Apply directly to the
skin 2-3 inches above wound.
b. For compressible hemorrhage not amenable to tourniquet use or
as an adjunct to tourniquet removal (if evacuation time is
anticipated to be longer than two hours), use Combat Gauze as
the hemostatic agent of choice. Combat Gauze should be applied
3
with at least 3 minutes of direct pressure. Before releasing any
tourniquet on a casualty who has been resuscitated for
hemorrhagic shock, ensure a positive response to resuscitation
efforts (i.e., a peripheral pulse normal in character and normal
mentation if there is no traumatic brain injury (TBI). If a lower
extremity wound is not amenable to tourniquet application and
cannot be controlled by hemostatics/dressings, consider
immediate application of mechanical direct pressure including
CoTCCC recommended devices such as the Combat Ready Clamp
(CRoC).
c. Reassess prior tourniquet application. Expose wound and determine if
tourniquet is needed. If so, move tourniquet from over uniform and apply
directly to skin 2-3 inches above wound. If a tourniquet is not needed, use
other techniques to control bleeding.
d. When time and the tactical situation permit, a distal pulse check
should be accomplished. If a distal pulse is still present, consider
additional tightening of the tourniquet or the use of a second
tourniquet, side by side and proximal to the first, to eliminate the distal
pulse.
e. Expose and clearly mark all tourniquet sites with the time of
tourniquet application. Use an indelible marker.
5. Intravenous (IV) access
– Start an 18-gauge IV or saline lock if indicated.
– If resuscitation is required and IV access is not obtainable, use the
intraosseous (IO) route.
6. Tranexamic Acid (TXA)
If a casualty is anticipated to need significant blood transfusion (for example:
presents with hemorrhagic shock, one or more major amputations, penetrating
torso trauma, or evidence of severe bleeding)
– Administer 1 gram of tranexamic acid in 100 cc Normal Saline or
Lactated Ringers as soon as possible but NOT later than 3 hours after
injury.
– Begin second infusion of 1 gm TXA after Hextend or other fluid
treatment.
* Note: Per the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs memo dated 4
November 2011, use of TXA outside of fixed medical facilities is limited to the
Special Operations community.
7. Fluid resuscitation
Assess for hemorrhagic shock; altered mental status (in the absence
of head injury) and weak or absent peripheral pulses are the best field
indicators of shock.
a. If not in shock:
– No IV fluids necessary
4
– PO fluids permissible if conscious and can swallow
b. If in shock:
– Hextend, 500-mL IV bolus
– Repeat once after 30 minutes if still in shock.
– No more than 1000 mL of Hextend
c. Continued efforts to resuscitate must be weighed against
logistical and tactical considerations and the risk of incurring
further casualties.
d. If a casualty with an altered mental status due to suspected TBI
has a weak or absent peripheral pulse, resuscitate as necessary to
maintain a palpable radial pulse.
8. Prevention of hypothermia
a. Minimize casualty’s exposure to the elements. Keep protective
gear on or with the casualty if feasible.
b. Replace wet clothing with dry if possible. Get the casualty onto an
insulated surface as soon as possible.
c. Apply the Ready-Heat Blanket from the Hypothermia Prevention
and Management Kit (HPMK) to the casualty’s torso (not directly
on the skin) and cover the casualty with the Heat-Reflective Shell
(HRS).
d. If an HRS is not available, the previously recommended
combination of the Blizzard Survival Blanket and the Ready Heat
blanket may also be used.
e. If the items mentioned above are not available, use dry blankets,
poncho liners, sleeping bags, or anything that will retain heat and keep
the casualty dry.
f. Warm fluids are preferred if IV fluids are required.
9. Penetrating Eye Trauma
If a penetrating eye injury is noted or suspected:
a) Perform a rapid field test of visual acuity.
b) Cover the eye with a rigid eye shield (NOT a pressure patch.)
c) Ensure that the 400 mg moxifloxacin tablet in the combat pill pack
is taken if possible and that IV/IM antibiotics are given as outlined
below if oral moxifloxacin cannot be taken.
10. Monitoring
Pulse oximetry should be available as an adjunct to clinical monitoring. All
individuals with moderate/severe TBI should be monitored with pulse oximetry.
Readings may be misleading in the settings of shock or marked hypothermia.
11. Inspect and dress known wounds.
12. Check for additional wounds.
5
13. Provide analgesia as necessary.
NOTE: Ketamine must not be used if the casualty has suspected penetrating eye
injury or significant TBI (evidenced by penetrating brain injury or head injury with
altered level of consciousness).
a. Able to fight:
These medications should be carried by the combatant and selfadministered
as soon as possible after the wound is sustained.
– Mobic, 15 mg PO once a day
– Tylenol, 650-mg bilayer caplet, 2 PO every 8 hours
b. Unable to fight:
Note: Have naloxone readily available whenever administering opiates.
– Does not otherwise require IV/IO access
– Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC), 800 μg transbucally
– Recommend taping lozenge-on-a-stick to casualty’s finger as an
added safety measure
– Reassess in 15 minutes
– Add second lozenge, in other cheek, as necessary to control
severe pain
– Monitor for respiratory depression
OR
– Ketamine 50-100mg IM
– Repeat dose every 30 minutes to 1 hour as necessary to
control severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
(rhythmic eye movement back and forth)
OR
– Ketamine 50 mg intranasal (using nasal atomizer device)
– Repeat dose every 30 minutes to 1 hour as necessary to
control severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
– IV or IO access obtained:
– Morphine sulfate, 5 mg IV/IO
– Reassess in 10 minutes.
– Repeat dose every 10 minutes as necessary to control severe pain.
– Monitor for respiratory depression
OR
– Ketamine 20 mg slow IV/IO push over 1 minute
– Reassess in 5-10 minutes.
– Repeat dose every 5-10 minutes as necessary to control
severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
– Continue to monitor for respiratory depression and agitation
– Promethazine, 25 mg IV/IM/IO every 6 hours as needed for nausea or
for synergistic analgesic effect
6
Note: Narcotic analgesia should be avoided in casualties with respiratory distress,
decreased oxygen saturation, shock, or decreased level of consciousness.
14. Splint fractures and recheck pulse.
15. Antibiotics: recommended for all open combat wounds
a. If able to take PO:
– Moxifloxacin, 400 mg PO one a day
b. If unable to take PO (shock, unconsciousness):
– Cefotetan, 2 g IV (slow push over 3-5 minutes) or IM every
12 hours
or
– Ertapenem, 1 g IV/IM once a day
16. Burns
a. Facial burns, especially those that occur in closed spaces, may be
associated with inhalation injury. Aggressively monitor airway status
and oxygen saturation in such patients and consider early surgical
airway for respiratory distress or oxygen desaturation.
b. Estimate total body surface area (TBSA) burned to the nearest 10%
using the Rule of Nines.
c. Cover the burn area with dry, sterile dressings. For extensive burns
(>20%), consider placing the casualty in the Heat-Reflective Shell
or Blizzard Survival Blanket from the Hypothermia Prevention Kit in
order to both cover the burned areas and prevent hypothermia.
d. Fluid resuscitation (USAISR Rule of Ten)
– If burns are greater than 20% of Total Body Surface Area, fluid
resuscitation should be initiated as soon as IV/IO access is established.
Resuscitation should be initiated with Lactated Ringer’s, normal saline, or
Hextend. If Hextend is used, no more than 1000 ml should be given,
followed by Lactated Ringer’s or normal saline as needed.
– Initial IV/IO fluid rate is calculated as %TBSA x 10cc/hr for adults
weighing 40- 80 kg.
– For every 10 kg ABOVE 80 kg, increase initial rate by 100 ml/hr.
– If hemorrhagic shock is also present, resuscitation for hemorrhagic shock
takes precedence over resuscitation for burn shock. Administer IV/IO
fluids per the TCCC Guidelines in Section 6.
e. Analgesia in accordance with the TCCC Guidelines in Section 12 may
be administered to treat burn pain.
f. Prehospital antibiotic therapy is not indicated solely for burns, but
antibiotics should be given per the TCCC guidelines in Section 14 if
indicated to prevent infection in penetrating wounds.
g. All TCCC interventions can be performed on or through burned skin in
a burn casualty.
17. Communicate with the casualty if possible.
7
– Encourage; reassure
– Explain care
18. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Resuscitation on the battlefield for victims of blast or penetrating
trauma who have no pulse, no ventilations, and no other signs of life
will not be successful and should not be attempted. However, casualties
with torso trauma or polytrauma who have no pulse or respirations
during TFC should have bilateral needle decompression performed to
ensure they do not have a tension pneumothorax prior to
discontinuation of care. The procedure is the same as described in
section 3 above.
19. Documentation of Care
Document clinical assessments, treatments rendered, and changes
in the casualty’s status on a TCCC Casualty Card. Forward this
information with the casualty to the next level of care.
8
Basic Management Plan for Tactical Evacuation Care
* The term “Tactical Evacuation” includes both Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and
Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) as defined in Joint Publication 4-02.
1. Airway Management
a. Unconscious casualty without airway obstruction:
– Chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver
– Nasopharyngeal airway
– Place casualty in the recovery position
b. Casualty with airway obstruction or impending airway obstruction:
– Chin lift or jaw thrust maneuver
– Nasopharyngeal airway
– Allow casualty to assume any position that best
protects the airway, to include sitting up.
– Place unconscious casualty in the recovery position.
– If above measures unsuccessful:
– Supraglottic airway or
– Endotracheal intubation or
– Surgical cricothyroidotomy (with lidocaine if conscious).
c. Spinal immobilization is not necessary for casualties with penetrating trauma.
2. Breathing
a. In a casualty with progressive respiratory distress and
known or suspected torso trauma, consider a tension
pneumothorax and decompress the chest on the side of the injury
with a 14-gauge, 3.25 inch needle/catheter unit inserted in the
second intercostal space at the midclavicular line. Ensure that the
needle entry into the chest is not medial to the nipple line and is
not directed towards the heart. An acceptable alternate site is the
4th or 5th intercostal space at the anterior axillary line (AAL).
b. Consider chest tube insertion if no improvement and/or long
transport is anticipated.
c. Most combat casualties do not require supplemental oxygen, but
administration of oxygen may be of benefit for the following types
of casualties:
– Low oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry
– Injuries associated with impaired oxygenation
– Unconscious casualty
– Casualty with TBI (maintain oxygen saturation > 90%)
– Casualty in shock
– Casualty at altitude
d. All open and/or sucking chest wounds should be treated by
immediately applying an occlusive material to cover the defect
and securing it in place. Monitor the casualty for the potential
development of a subsequent tension pneumothorax.
9
3. Bleeding
a. Assess for unrecognized hemorrhage and control all sources of
bleeding. If not already done, use a CoTCCC-recommended tourniquet to
control life-threatening external hemorrhage that is anatomically amenable to
tourniquet application or for any traumatic amputation. Apply directly to the
skin 2-3 inches above wound.
b. For compressible hemorrhage not amenable to tourniquet use or
as an adjunct to tourniquet removal (if evacuation time is
anticipated to be longer than two hours), use Combat Gauze as
the hemostatic agent of choice. Combat Gauze should be applied
with at least 3 minutes of direct pressure. Before releasing any
tourniquet on a casualty who has been resuscitated for
hemorrhagic shock, ensure a positive response to resuscitation
efforts (i.e., a peripheral pulse normal in character and normal
mentation if there is no TBI.) If a lower extremity wound is not
amenable to tourniquet application and cannot be controlled by
hemostatics/dressings, consider immediate application of
mechanical direct pressure including CoTCCC recommended
devices such as the Combat Ready Clamp (CRoC).
c. Reassess prior tourniquet application. Expose wound and determine if
tourniquet is needed. If so, move tourniquet from over uniform and apply
directly to skin 2-3 inches above wound. If a tourniquet is not needed, use
other techniques to control bleeding.
d. When time and the tactical situation permit, a distal pulse check
should be accomplished. If a distal pulse is still present, consider
additional tightening of the tourniquet or the use of a second
tourniquet, side by side and proximal to the first, to eliminate the distal
pulse.
e. Expose and clearly mark all tourniquet sites with the time of
tourniquet application. Use an indelible marker.
4. Intravenous (IV) access
a. Reassess need for IV access.
– If indicated, start an 18-gauge IV or saline lock
– If resuscitation is required and IV access is not obtainable,
use intraosseous (IO) route.
5. Tranexamic Acid (TXA)
If a casualty is anticipated to need significant blood transfusion (for example:
presents with hemorrhagic shock, one or more major amputations, penetrating
torso trauma, or evidence of severe bleeding)
– Administer 1 gram of tranexamic acid in 100 cc Normal Saline or
Lactated Ringers as soon as possible but NOT later than 3 hours after
injury.
10
– Begin second infusion of 1 gm TXA after Hextend or other fluid
treatment.
* Note: Per the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs memo dated 4
November 2011, use of TXA outside of fixed medical facilities is limited to the
Special Operations community.
6. Traumatic Brain Injury
a. Casualties with moderate/severe TBI should be monitored for:
1) Decreases in level of consciousness
2) Pupillary dilation
3) SBP should be >90 mmHg
4) O2 sat > 90
5) Hypothermia
6) PCO2 (If capnography is available, maintain between 35-40 mmHg)
7) Penetrating head trauma (if present, administer antibiotics)
8) Assume a spinal (neck) injury until cleared
b. Unilateral pupillary dilation accompanied by a decreased level of
consciousness may signify impending cerebral herniation; if these signs
occur, take the following actions to decrease intracranial pressure:
1) Administer 250 cc of 3 or 5% hypertonic saline bolus.
2) Elevate the casualty’s head 30 degrees.
3) Hyperventilate the casualty.
a) Respiratory rate 20
b) Capnography should be used to maintain the end-tidal CO2 between
30-35
c) The highest oxygen concentration (FIO2) possible should be used for
hyperventilation.
Notes:
– Do not hyperventilate unless signs of impending herniation are present.
– Casualties may be hyperventilated with oxygen using the bag-valve-mask
technique.
7. Fluid resuscitation
Reassess for hemorrhagic shock (altered mental status in the absence of
brain injury and/or change in pulse character.) If BP monitoring is
available, maintain target systolic BP 80-90 mmHg.
a. If not in shock:
– No IV fluids necessary.
– PO fluids permissible if conscious and can swallow.
b. If in shock and blood products are not available:
– Hextend 500-mL IV bolus
– Repeat after 30 minutes if still in shock.
– Continue resuscitation with Hextend or crystalloid solution
as needed to maintain target BP or clinical improvement.
11
c. If in shock and blood products are available under an approved
command or theater protocol:
– Resuscitate with 2 units of plasma followed by packed red
blood cells (PRBCs) in a 1:1 ratio. If blood component
therapy is not available, transfuse fresh whole blood.
Continue resuscitation as needed to maintain target BP or
clinical improvement.
d. If a casualty with an altered mental status due to suspected TBI
has a weak or absent peripheral pulse, resuscitate as necessary
to maintain a palpable radial pulse. If BP monitoring is available,
maintain target systolic BP of at least 90 mmHg.
8. Prevention of hypothermia
a. Minimize casualty’s exposure to the elements. Keep protective gear on
or with the casualty if feasible.
b. Replace wet clothing with dry if possible. Get the casualty onto an
insulated surface as soon as possible.
c. Apply the Ready-Heat Blanket from the Hypothermia Prevention
and Management Kit (HPMK) to the casualty’s torso (not directly
on the skin) and cover the casualty with the Heat-Reflective Shell
(HRS).
d. If an HRS is not available, the previously recommended
combination of the Blizzard Survival Blanket and the Ready Heat
blanket may also be used.
e. If the items mentioned above are not available, use poncho liners,
sleeping bags or anything that will retain heat and keep the casualty
dry.
f. Use a portable fluid warmer capable of warming all IV fluids
including blood products.
g. Protect the casualty from wind if doors must be kept open.
9. Penetrating Eye Trauma
If a penetrating eye injury is noted or suspected:
a) Perform a rapid field test of visual acuity.
b) Cover the eye with a rigid eye shield (NOT a pressure patch).
c) Ensure that the 400 mg moxifloxacin tablet in the combat pill pack
is taken if possible and that IV/IM antibiotics are given as outlined
below if oral moxifloxacin cannot be taken.
10. Monitoring
Institute pulse oximetry and other electronic monitoring of vital signs, if indicated.
All individuals with moderate/severe TBI should be monitored with pulse
oximetry.
12
11. Inspect and dress known wounds if not already done.
12. Check for additional wounds.
13. Provide analgesia as necessary.
NOTE: Ketamine must not be used if the casualty has suspected penetrating eye
injury or significant TBI (evidenced by penetrating brain injury or head injury with
altered level of consciousness).
a. Able to fight:
These medications should be carried by the combatant and selfadministered
as soon as possible after the wound is sustained.
– Mobic, 15 mg PO once a day
– Tylenol, 650-mg bilayer caplet, 2 PO every 8 hours
b. Unable to fight:
Note: Have naloxone readily available whenever administering opiates.
– Does not otherwise require IV/IO access
– Oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate (OTFC), 800 μg transbucally
– Recommend taping lozenge-on-a-stick to casualty’s finger as an
added safety measure
– Reassess in 15 minutes
– Add second lozenge, in other cheek, as necessary to control
severe pain
– Monitor for respiratory depression
OR
– Ketamine 50-100mg IM
– Repeat dose every 30 minutes to 1 hour as necessary to
control severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
(rhythmic eye movement back and forth)
OR
– Ketamine 50 mg intranasal (using nasal atomizer device)
– Repeat dose every 30 minutes to 1 hour as necessary to
control severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
– IV or IO access obtained:
– Morphine sulfate, 5 mg IV/IO
– Reassess in 10 minutes.
– Repeat dose every 10 minutes as necessary to control severe pain.
– Monitor for respiratory depression
OR
– Ketamine 20 mg slow IV/IO push over 1 minute
– Reassess in 5-10 minutes.
– Repeat dose every 5-10 minutes as necessary to control
severe pain or until the casualty develops nystagmus
– Continue to monitor for respiratory depression and agitation
– Promethazine, 25 mg IV/IM/IO every 6 hours as needed for nausea or
for synergistic analgesic effect
13
Note: Narcotic analgesia should be avoided in casualties with respiratory distress,
decreased oxygen saturation, shock, or decreased level of consciousness.
14. Reassess fractures and recheck pulses.
15. Antibiotics: recommended for all open combat wounds
a. If able to take PO:
– Moxifloxacin, 400 mg PO once a day
b. If unable to take PO (shock, unconsciousness):
– Cefotetan, 2 g IV (slow push over 3-5 minutes) or IM every 12
hours,
or
– Ertapenem, 1 g IV/IM once a day
16. Burns
a. Facial burns, especially those that occur in closed spaces, may be
associated with inhalation injury. Aggressively monitor airway status
and oxygen saturation in such patients and consider early surgical
airway for respiratory distress or oxygen desaturation.
b. Estimate total body surface area (TBSA) burned to the nearest 10%
using the Rule of Nines.
c. Cover the burn area with dry, sterile dressings. For extensive burns
(>20%), consider placing the casualty in the Heat-Reflective Shell or
Blizzard Survival Blanket from the Hypothermia Prevention Kit in order
to both cover the burned areas and prevent hypothermia.
d. Fluid resuscitation (USAISR Rule of Ten)
– If burns are greater than 20% of Total Body Surface Area, fluid
resuscitation should be initiated as soon as IV/IO access is established.
Resuscitation should be initiated with Lactated Ringer’s, normal saline, or
Hextend. If Hextend is used, no more than 1000 ml should be given,
followed by Lactated Ringer’s or normal saline as needed.
– Initial IV/IO fluid rate is calculated as %TBSA x 10cc/hr for adults
weighing 40-80 kg.
– For every 10 kg ABOVE 80 kg, increase initial rate by 100 ml/hr.
– If hemorrhagic shock is also present, resuscitation for hemorrhagic shock
takes precedence over resuscitation for burn shock. Administer IV/IO
fluids per the TCCC Guidelines in Section 5.
e. Analgesia in accordance with TCCC Guidelines in Section 11 may be
administered to treat burn pain.
f. Prehospital antibiotic therapy is not indicated solely for burns, but
antibiotics should be given per TCCC guidelines in Section 13 if
indicated to prevent infection in penetrating wounds.
g. All TCCC interventions can be performed on or through burned skin in
a burn casualty.
h. Burn patients are particularly susceptible to hypothermia. Extra
14
emphasis should be placed on barrier heat loss prevention methods
and IV fluid warming in this phase.
17. The Pneumatic Antishock Garment (PASG) may be useful for stabilizing pelvic
fractures and controlling pelvic and abdominal bleeding. Application and extended use
must be carefully monitored. The PASG is contraindicated for casualties with thoracic or
brain injuries.
18. CPR in TACEVAC Care
a. Casualties with torso trauma or polytrauma who have no pulse or
respirations during TACEVAC should have bilateral needle decompression
performed to ensure they do not have a tension pneumothorax. The
procedure is the same as described in section 2 above.
b. CPR may be attempted during this phase of care if the casualty
does not have obviously fatal wounds and will be arriving at a facility
with a surgical capability within a short period of time. CPR should not be done at
the expense of compromising the mission or denying lifesaving care to other
casualties.
19. Documentation of Care
Document clinical assessments, treatments rendered, and changes in
casualty’s status on a TCCC Casualty Card. Forward this information with the casualty to
the next level of care.

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