'STOP THE BLEED' Saving Lives Across the Globe

By Megan Brooks

October 16, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The American College of Surgeons (ACS) STOP THE BLEED training program is saving lives around the world, according to two studies presented October 3 at the ACS virtual meeting.

The STOP THE BLEED program (https://www.stopthebleed.org/) has trained over one million people worldwide on how to stop bleeding in a severely injured person. The one-hour course teaches people to recognize life-threatening bleeding and intervene effectively before help arrives.

In one study, the STOP THE BLEED course was taught to 121 nursing students at the Kabala Nursing School in rural Sierra Leone. One year later, 76 students responded to a survey and reported a total of 190 encounters with life-threatening hemorrhage.

Because they were able to intervene, 178 victims (93%) of life-threatening hemorrhage survived, with most (82%) going to the hospital for further medical care "and most of these victims were reported to have lived," study investigator Dr. Samba Jalloh, from the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, Freetown, Sierra Leone, reported in her presentation.

"Teaching bleeding control techniques to nursing students in rural Sierra Leone resulted in frequent successful use of these concepts. They frequently applied course concepts to overt preventable hemorrhage and subsequently prevented death," she said.

The most common injuries requiring a bleeding control intervention were motorcycle collisions (34%), knife wounds (19%), and car accidents (13%). The most commonly used bleeding control techniques were wound packing (41%), direct pressure (26%), and tourniquet application (20%).

This study also shows that the STOP THE BLEED course can be taught in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs), where access to healthcare can be sporadic and the burden of injury can be significant, Dr. Jalloh noted.

The course teaches "basic medical knowledge, which is essential. With or without a medical background, they can apply this knowledge to save a life," she said.

In the other study, researchers in Connecticut found that people who took the STOP THE BLEED course demonstrated competence of bleeding control knowledge after one year and, like their counterparts in Sierra Leone, they successfully applied hemorrhage control techniques to save lives.

"In our study, we had people as young as 14 and as old as 64 report that they used bleeding control skills," Jeremy Fridling, a fourth-year medical student at Quinnipiac University School of Medicine in North Haven, said in a statement. Participants rendering aid included workers in a variety of medical and non-medical occupations.

Among 1,134 people who took the course, 1,030 responded to pre- and post-course surveys; 374 responded at six months and 371 at one year. Thirty-one people reported using the skills they learned in class on a live patient within one year of taking the course, with 29 (93.5%) reporting that the hemorrhage was controlled and the patient made it to the hospital alive, Fridling reported in his presentation.

"Notably," he said, "every case in which a tourniquet was applied or wound was packed had a positive outcome."

"We can therefore confidently report that the bleeding control basic course is effective in empowering members of the public to successfully provide hemorrhage control care to the injured. The course facilitated delivery of knowledge, which was retained for one year, motivated participants to act and imparted confidence in life saving abilities," he concluded.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/313d6D1 American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2020.