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Historical review of emergency tourniquet use to stop bleeding

      Abstract

      Background

      Although a common first aid topic, emergency tourniquets to stop bleeding are controversial because there is little experience on which to guide use. Absent an adequate historical analysis, we have researched development of emergency tourniquets from antiquity to the present.

      Methods

      We selected sources emphasizing historical development of tourniquets from books and databases such as PubMed.

      Results

      The history of the emergency tourniquet is long and disjointed, mainly written by hospital surgeons with little accounting, until recently, of the needs of forward medics near the point injury. Many investigators often are unaware of the breadth of the tourniquet’s history and voice opinions based on anecdotal observations.

      Conclusions

      Reporting the historical development of tourniquet use allowed us to recognize disparate problems investigators discuss but do not recognize, such as venous tourniquet use. We relate past observations with recent observations for use by subsequent investigators.

      Keywords

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