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Challenging the dogma of traumatic cardiac arrest management: a military perspective
  1. J E Smith1,2,
  2. S Le Clerc1,3,
  3. P A F Hunt1,3
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (Research & Academia), Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Emergency Department, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK
  3. 3Emergency Department, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jason E Smith, Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Institute of Research and Development, Vincent Drive, Birmingham B15 2SQ, UK; jasonesmith{at}


Attempts to resuscitate patients in traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) have, in the past, been viewed as futile. However, reported outcomes from TCA in the past five years, particularly from military series, are improving. The pathophysiology of TCA is different to medical causes of cardiac arrest, and therefore, treatment priorities may also need to be different. This article reviews recent literature describing the pathophysiology of TCA and describes how the military has challenged the assumption that outcome is universally poor in these patients.

  • military
  • Trauma
  • cardiac arrest
  • clinical management
  • resuscitation

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