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Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

January 12, 2018 0 Comments

Pneumatic Tourniquets – Pros & Cons

Pneumatic Tourniquet 

The best tourniquet is the tourniquet that is right for you.

As we’ve previously stated before the best tourniquet is the tourniquet that is right for you. If you feel more comfortable with a particular type, or brand of tourniquet, that is the best tourniquet for you, just ensure you periodically review new innovations, and thoroughly test all types of tourniquets. Currently, there are four primary types of tourniquets on the market. Depending on whom you talk to about tourniquets, you will get a wide array of opinions and recommendations. Always consider the source of the information, identify any conflicts of interest, and take the knowledge gained from that interaction and apply whatever percentage works best for you. In addition, take into consideration that it is very possible that social media accounts that look like actual people, may in fact be marketing teams or company representatives posing as external independent people. So do your research. For the purpose of this article we will only discuss the windlass tourniquet type. The other types will be written about in follow-on articles.


  1. Windlass
  2. Elastic Band
  3. Pneumatic
  4. Ratcheting


Pneumatic Tourniquets can take a few forms, with the most common being something that resembles a blood pressure cuff. These tourniquets are constructed of a sleeve with Velcro. Inside the sleeve is a manually inflatable compartment that can be inflated by hand, or a machine automatically inflates another form. Manually inflated pneumatic tourniquets generally consist of a bulb that is squeezed to increase pressure inside the tubing until occlusion pressure is reached. The automatically inflated pneumatic tourniquets are connected to a machine that inflates and provides measurements of pressure automatically. Pneumatic tourniquets are generally only seen in hospitals, but there is one version that is currently approved by the CoTCCC.




  1. Can Occlude Arterial Blood Flow: Pneumatic tourniquets generally have a very wide configuration, which allows it to provide compression at lower levels than non-pneumatic tourniquets.
  2. Wide: Pneumatic tourniquets are wide so the predicted limb occlusion pressures are generally lower and almost always in the safe range.
  3. Common, Easy To Use: Pneumatic tourniquets are commonly used in hospitals for orthopedic surgery. If you have had limb surgery under general anesthesia you’ve had a pneumatic tourniquet used on you during the procedure.



  1. If punctured rendered ineffective: The inner tubing within the sleeve of a pneumatic tourniquet if punctured is rendered ineffective. Essentially, the materials are not as rugged to wear and tear.
  2. Application Time: A pneumatic tourniquet may take longer to apply depending on the environment the injury happens, size of the user, size of the person rendering aid, how many times the bulb needs to be pumped, etc.
  3. May Be Difficult To Apply High On Limb: A pneumatic tourniquet may be difficult to apply high up on a limb due to its size. Injuries sustained near junctional areas, but still on a limb may not allow the full width of the device to be applied above the wound.