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Reuters Health: Adult tourniquets work for school-age kids in an emergency

By Lisa Rapaport

Children bleeding from severe traumas like gunshot wounds can be treated with adult-sized tourniquets, a small study suggests.

Gun injuries are a leading cause of death among school-age U.S. children, and if these young patients don't die on the way to the hospital, they often require major surgery and blood transfusions. While first responders have long used child-size tourniquets to stanch the bleeding in the field, less is known about what happens when adult-size tourniquets are used on smaller bodies, researchers note in Pediatrics.

The tourniquet halted blood flow in the arm for all 60 kids, and it also stopped blood flow in the leg for 56 out of 60 children. This suggests that tourniquets sized for adult limbs may be used on school-age children in an emergency, said lead study author Dr. Theodore Harcke of Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

"Application of the CAT tourniquet in pediatrics is similar to application in adults, from the standpoint of placement and operation," Harcke said by email. "We found that smaller extremities are likely to require fewer turns."

The study cannot prove that the adult tourniquet would work as well as a child-size tourniquet in a true bleeding emergency. It also didn't look at using adult-size tourniquets in kids younger than 6 years old, and it's possible results would be different for preschoolers or toddlers.

Still, the results suggest that first responders might be able to use an adult-size tourniquet on an older child in an emergency, said the author of an accompanying editorial, Dr. Charles Snyder of Children's Mercy Hospital and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

"In a real application, the device can be tightened further, or a second tourniquet applied to the same limb," if that's needed to halt the bleeding, Snyder said by email.


Read the full story via Reuters Health

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