Tourniquets room a regular topic of conversation on the Mountain guy Medical YouTube channel and also I’ve been seeing a lot of rumors. Most of this rumors come from the old methods of doing things.

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All medication is continually changing, year to year and sometimes month to month together scientists and also doctors search for the best way to store a person alive, and also trauma is no exception.

If girlfriend haven’t had any type of medical training because that a few years you can not it is in up to date on the latest approaches for controlling trauma. One of the most usual myths I watch pop up is this:

“Tourniquets space a critical resort. If you apply a TQ, the victims hurt limb will be amputated.”

Not only is this wrong, however it’s an extremely dangerous.


Now organize on, i don’t error anyone for thinking this due to the fact that it used to be taught as traditional practice. But, because the battle on Terror began, there have actually been lot of of situations to be studied and also now we know this no true.

Lets very first start with what’s going on in the body as soon as a TQ is applied.

Tourniquets are efficient for regulating a life-threatening bleed because it clamps down all the vessels supplying blood come the extremity.

I’m certain you currently knew that but let’s pretend that you didn’t because that a moment.

Blood is carrying oxygen and also keeps the tissues alive. There is no this necessary oxygen, the tissues will die. The blood is additionally responsible for transferring away toxins the would develop up if no removed. As soon as a TQ is applied, blood stop moving and neither the these important things takes place.

So, the question Becomes:

How long have the right to a tourniquet be used before the tissues dice from a lack of oxygen and also a buildup that toxins, and also the limb need to be amputated?

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According to the National center for Biotechnology info (NCBI):

“Muscle damage is practically complete by 6 hours, v likely forced amputation. Countless studies have actually been perform to recognize the preferably duration the tourniquet use prior to complications. The basic conclusion is that a tourniquet have the right to be left in location for 2 h(ours) with little risk of permanent ischaemic injury.”

Now it’s vital to note that the study thorough by the NCBI is looking much more at Pneumatic Tourniquets rather of the windless format like a CAT.


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NAR Combat application Tourniquet C-A-T
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Riester 5255 Pneumatic Tourniquet

So, let’s look at an ext evidence.

According come Peter T. Pons, MD, FACEP:

“The experience acquired over the past 15 year of combat has clearly demonstrated that recommended, commercially easily accessible tourniquets can, in fact, be used safely. Data native the U.S. Army have shown that survival for trauma victims who have a tourniquet applied before lock bleed into shock is 9 times higher than for victims who receive a tourniquet after they get in shock.

In addition, the data show that tourniquets have the right to be safely applied to one extremity for a period of up to 2 hrs with no concern about amputation. In fact, there have actually been no amputations in the U.S. Military as a direct result of tourniquet applications in patients through an application time of 2 hours or less.”

This method that if you space injured in one area through an median EMS solution time the 15 minutes and 19 seconds, applying a TQ has actually very small risk of requiring amputation.

It’s possible to bleed out from a femoral artery in 2:30-3:00 minutes, so the threat of death before EMS can obtain on step is substantial, if the risk of amputation is low to none.

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The Takeaway:

Don’t be afraid to use your TQ for life threaten bleeds. Though the threat of amputation is low, it’s tho preferable come death.