Management of Hypothermia in Tactical Combat Casualty Care TCCC Guideline Proposed Change 20-01 June 2020

B. L. Bennett*, Gordon Giesbrecht, Ken Zafren, Ryan Christensen, Lanny Littlejohn, Brendon Drew, Andrew Cap, Ethan Miles, Frank Butler, John B. Holcomb, Stacy Shackelford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


As an outcome of combat injury and hemorrhagic shock, trauma-induced hypothermia (TIH) and the associated coagulo pathy and acidosis result in significantly increased risk for death. In an effort to manage TIH, the Hypothermia Prevention and Management Kit (HPMK) was implemented in 2006 for battlefield casualties. Recent feedback from operational forces indicates that limitations exist in the HPMK to maintain thermal balance in cold environments, due to the lack of insulation. Consequently, based on lessons learned, some US Special Operations Forces are now upgrading the HPMK after short-term use (60 minutes) by adding insulation around the casualty during training in cold environments. Furthermore, new research indicates that the current HPMK, although better than no hypothermia protection, was ranked last in objective and subjective measures in volunteers when compared with commercial and user-assembled external warming enclosure systems. On the basis of these observations and research findings, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care decided to review the hypothermia prevention and management guidelines in 2018 and to update them on the basis of these facts and that no update has occurred in 14 years. Recommendations are made for minimal costs, low cube and weight solutions to create an insulated HPMK, or when the HPMK is not readily available, to create an improvised hypothermia (insulated) enclosure system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Special Operations Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • improvised
  • rewarming
  • trauma, coagulopathy, shock, hypothermia


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