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Blog 18 August 2014

Brief History of CAT Tourniquet

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The Combat Application Tourniquet was initially fielded by USSOCOM in 2004 then fast followed by conventional forces in 2005. In the early years of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and prior to the implementation of modern prefabricated tourniquets, the death rate from extremity exsanguination

was 23.3 deaths annually. After full implementation, this number was reduced to 3.5 deaths per year, an 85% decrease in mortality. In 2005 the Combat Application Tourniquet was selected as one of the Army’s top 10 greatest inventions and is recognized as one of the foremost advancements in pre-hospital care during the GWOT with an estimated 1,850 lives saved.

Relentless comprehensive analysis of all deaths from extremity hemorrhage has resulted in evidence-based tourniquet improvements. This approach has yielded critical device improvements to include five refinements in the design of the Combat Application Tourniquet over the last decade. These enhancements were focused on maximizing the effectiveness of the device while minimizing morbidity.

Continuous interface with end-users and researchers, literature review and tourniquet applications in both real world and simulated high stress tactical environments have made it clear, that despite tremendous success, tourniquet knowledge gaps exist in the following areas (1) single verses double routing of the band (2) Importance of slack removal prior to engaging the windlass. Closing these gaps will be accomplished through device enhancements, knowledge products and focused training.

The patented Combat Application Tourniquet® (C-A-T®) featuring the proprietary red tip design and the mechanical advantage of a band within a band has been the Official Tourniquet of the U.S. Army since 2005. The innovations in the C-A-T® are protected by U.S. Patent Nos. 7,842,067 and 7,892,253.

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