Panakeia News

Belts Evaluated as Limb Tourniquets

Traumatic wounds can result in severe bleeding that, if not controlled, may become lethal.1, 2, 3 Control of bleeding from limb wounds via tourniquet use has been shown to be reliably effective and potentially lifesaving.4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Commercially designed trouser belts have been intentionally made so that they are readily available to serve a second role as a tourniquet when needed to prevent and control bleeding from traumatic wounds. In these 2 ways, belt tourniquets are dual-purpose. A belt tourniquet is both a medical device and an article of clothing because it can be worn as a traditional belt with pants and taken off for application as a limb tourniquet if needed. Such tourniquets are not improvised because they are specifically designed for use as a tourniquet are also designed as a band to support trousers at the waist. To achieve required pressure to stop blood flow, a tourniquet uses a mechanical advantage such as a windlass, pulley, or ratchet.9, 10 By tightening around a limb, a tourniquet stops the underlying arterial blood flow to control bleeding from distal wounds.8 However, public awareness of such medical devices is limited because they are new and have not yet been widely fielded to military servicepersons or law enforcement officers.
Recent scientific discussions in the medical literature about tourniquets have been many, but the topic of belt tourniquets is new. Currently, few data are available on the effectiveness of belt tourniquets. A better understanding of the usefulness of these devices could inform their design and development or decisions on use in the field, such as by soldiers, outdoorsmen, or police officers. A laboratory assessment of a human-like manikin with a limb wound in need of hemorrhage control would be useful in delivering performance data and possibly improving awareness. The purpose of this study was to assess the differential performance of 4 models of belt tourniquets regarding their capacity to control hemorrhage.

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