Application Of Combat Tourniquets Exposed To The Environment Have A Reduced Efficacy

Application Of Combat Tourniquets Exposed To The Environment Have A Reduced Efficacy

May 18, 2018 0 Comments

Application Of Combat Tourniquets Exposed To The Environment Have A Reduced Efficacy

A recent study titled, “Efficacy Of Tourniquets Exposed To The Afghanistan Combat Environment Stored In Individual First Aid Kits Versus
 On The Exterior Of Plate Carriers,” concluded that windlass combat application tourniquets were less effective and prone to failures when exposed to the environment (Weppner et al, 2013). Tourniquets are a vital tool in hemorrhage control on and off the battlefield, and have been shown to save lives. During Operation Enduring Freedom, Marine Combat Team 3 reported a 14% CAT tourniquet breakage rate between May and October 2009, and 1stBattalion, 6thMarines reported a 10% breakage rate of CAT tourniquets during application.  Overall reports have been that CAT tourniquets have had reported failure rates of as low as 41% compared to 9% of unexposed CAT tourniquets. So what is the take away here?

Tourniquets and their efficacy can mean life or death for a wounded person who is relying on this medical device to work correctly. The CAT tourniquet is not he only tourniquet on the market, and there are other styles that use different mechanisms, and are made for austere conditions. While no tourniquet is 100% perfect and free from breakage or failures this study does show that this specific tourniquet has a reduced efficacy when exposed to elements. Therefore, CAT tourniquets are best kept in its packaging and unexposed to elements.

Selecting the right tourniquet for your environment and specific use is crucial.

This study has demonstrated that the CAT tourniquet has a reduced efficacy when exposed to the environment, and elements. Knowing that the windlass CAT tourniquet has a reduced efficacy from exposure means it is not the appropriate tourniquet for marine environments.  The appropriate tourniquet for marine environments is the OMNA tourniquet for a variety of reasons.

  1. Made for marine environments: A tourniquet is only as good as its design and materials. The OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet uses materials specifically tested to withstand use in water so that it will hold up to saltwater, and UV exposure. Furthermore, its design enables you to wear the tourniquet on your body so that it’s with you at all times, and doesn’t try to sell you a pouch.
  2. Ratchet and Ladder Strap: The OMNA tourniquets use a ratchet and ladder strap system rather than a windlass bar system because it is faster, and more in tune to gross motor application than twisting a bar.
  3. Durability: The stainless steel ratchet and tough thermoplastic ladder strap are designed to withstand the elements, without a loss of efficacy.


If you need to keep a tourniquet on you in the water, marine environment, boat, surf, or that will be exposed to elements OMNA Tourniquets may be your best bet.