Trauma medicine focus at casualty care conference
August 18, 2010
By Lanessa Hill
ST. PETE'S BEACH, Fla., (Army News Service, Aug. 18, 2010) -- The Advanced Technology for Applications and Combat Casualty Care Conference is underway for 2010, focusing on medical care for the warfighter.
"The Department of Defense has invested more money this year than previous years towards new medical research for the Soldier. As a trusted partner, MRMC looks forward to advances in medicine by working with academia and industry to make it happen," said Frazier Glenn, principal assistant for Research and Technology of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
The meeting brings together experts to discuss experiences in product development and collaborative efforts that allow for the latest advances in military medicine to support troops on the front lines.
Trauma medicine is a main focus for this year's conference.
War is also often the reason for advances in traumatic medicine -- inventions such as the tourniquet or the use of helicopters for patient transport were introduced during wars. The tourniquet, invented nearly 300 years ago continues to be the most efficient tool to control bleeding that exists today.
"You have no idea how much good everyone here is doing. Not only for combat casualty care, but your work more importantly continues to prevent injuries and save lives," said Maj. Gen. James Gilman, commander of MRMC.
He went on to say that it is almost like the work done by attendees has gone viral, it has spread and now everyone needs the end results immediately.
"It is because of the work of everyone involved in trauma medicine that the survivability rate in the field is nearly 90 percent," Gilman said. "That success rate gives Soldiers the confidence to see through and carry out their assigned missions."
The conference brought together experts from academia including the University of Pittsburgh and partners with products that are being used in the field.
One speaker was a National Football League physician who discussed experience in the field of sports medicine and the use of the immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing. This test has become the most widely used concussion evaluation system with over one million people tested. He stressed the importance of having a baseline to work with and how it may be useful for the military to consider information gathered from other possibly debilitating professions such as football or boxing.
Patrick Kochanek, professor of critical care at the University of Pittsburgh discussed Operation Brain Trauma Therapy. The use of multiple models, species and outcomes has the potential to provide insight into therapies for TBI. As information regarding the role axonal injuries play in TBI evolves, the program which -- assesses appropriate treatments -- is searching for therapies that are beneficial.
The two biggest hurdles which continue to result in severe debilitation or fatalities are traumatic brain injury and hemorrhaging.
Controlling bleeding that can't be reached remains a priority among military health-care professionals. Injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvic area where a tourniquet can't be placed remain a concern.
Several companies are working with the Army on developing freeze-dried plasma as well as frozen blood products. The Army continues to work and develop these potentially life-saving products. Clinical trials are ongoing and a necessary step towards product approval of the FDA.