U.S. military use of tourniquets from 2001 to 2010

John F. Kragh*, Michael A. Dubick, James K. Aden, Anne L. Mckeague, Todd E. Rasmussen, David G. Baer, Lorne H. Blackbourne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objective. This study was conducted to associate tourniquet use and survival in casualty care over a decade of war in order to provide evidence to emergency medical personnel for the implementation and efficacy of tourniquet use in a large trauma system. Methods. This survey is a retrospective review of data extracted from a trauma registry. The decade (2001-2010) outcome trend analysis of tourniquet use in the current wars was made in order to associate tourniquet use and survival in an observational cohort design. Results. Of 4,297 casualties with extremity trauma in the total study, 30% (1,272/4,297) had tourniquet use and 70% (3,025/4,297) did not. For all 4,297 casualties, the proportion of casualties with severe or critical extremity Abbreviated Injury Scales (AIS) increased during the years surveyed (p < 0.0001); the mean annual Injury Severity Score (ISS) rose from 13 to 21. Tourniquet use increased during the decade by almost tenfold from 4 to nearly 40% (p < 0.0001). Survival for casualties with isolated extremity injury varied by injury severity; the survival rate for AIS 3 (serious) was 98%, the rate for AIS 4 (severe) was 76%, and the rate for AIS 5 (critical) was 0%. Survival rates increased for casualties with injuries amenable to tourniquets but decreased for extremity injuries too proximal for tourniquets. Conclusions. Average injury severity increased during the decade of war for casualties with extremity injury. Both tourniquet use rates and casualty survival rates rose when injuries were amenable to tourniquets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency medical services
  • First aid
  • Medical device
  • Resuscitation
  • Shock


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