Shared Science - Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
WEM and The Journal of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM) participate in a shared science program. This opportunity is made possible through a reciprocal partnership between the journals. Click here to see the JSOM articles selected for WEM readers, please visit:
Helicopter-Based Search and Rescue Operations in the Dutch Caribbean: A Retrospective AnalysisSearch and rescue (SAR) operations in the Dutch Caribbean offer basic and advanced prehospital care and transport for definitive care. Helicopter-based SAR in this geographic area has not been previously studied. Data from the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard were analyzed with the aim of describing the current operational setting and optimizing SAR operations in the future.
Evaluation of Escherichia coli Inactivation at High Altitudes Using Solar Water DisinfectionSolar disinfection (SODIS) is an effective method for microbiologic inactivation of contaminated water using ultraviolet rays at low elevations. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of SODIS at higher elevations.
Validating the Remote First Aid Self-Efficacy Scale for Use in Evaluation and Training of First Responders in Remote ContextsThe purpose of this study was to investigate the psychometric properties of the remote first aid self-efficacy scale (RFA SES). The RFA SES is a 30-item self-report scale developed in response to emerging evidence showing that self-efficacy is predictive of performance.
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange for Venom-Induced Thrombotic Microangiopathy Following Hump-Nosed Pit Viper (Genus: Hypnale) Bites: A Prospective Observational Study—Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA), which is the triad of acute kidney injury (AKI), microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA), and thrombocytopenia, is a rare complication of snakebites, and in Sri Lanka, it is commonly seen with hump-nosed pit viper (HNPV) bites.
Perceptions Among Backcountry Skiers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Avalanche Safety and Backcountry Habits of New and Established SkiersThe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic impacted the ski industry worldwide by closing or limiting access to ski resorts. Subsequently, anecdotal reports of increased backcountry use emerged in the press, with concerns of inexperienced skiers causing or having problems in the backcountry. This study attempted to quantify this and identify motivations for new backcountry skiers.
Successful Nonextracorporeal Life Support Resuscitation and Rewarming of a Patient with Hypothermia in Cardiac ArrestWe report full recovery of a patient with hypothermia in cardiac arrest following continuous and prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and conventional, nonextracorporeal life support (non-ECLS) methods. A 57-y-old man presented with unwitnessed cardiac arrest and a core temperature of 23°C (73°F). The presenting cardiac rhythm was ventricular fibrillation. The team administered epinephrine and performed defibrillation and CPR. Because ECLS was unavailable at the facility, the medical team externally and internally rewarmed the patient using heated blankets, forced warmed air, thoracic lavage, and warmed IV fluids.
Intranasal Fentanyl for On-the-Hill Analgesia by Ski PatrolIntranasal fentanyl offers a means for safe and effective pain management in austere environments. Prehospital analgesia traditionally involves intravenous or intramuscular medication. However, for wilderness rescuers, these methods are often impractical.
Point-of-Care Ultrasound Findings in a Case of Botfly Myiasis Contracted in the United StatesBotfly infiltration is a rare cause of pediatric skin manifestations in the United States, but should be considered in nonhealing wounds even in nontravelers. We describe the case of a healthy 6-y-old female who had never traveled outside of the southeast United States, presenting with a nonhealing skin lesion. The point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) findings suggested subcutaneous parasitic infiltration. This case demonstrates the role of POCUS in identification of subcutaneous parasitic infiltration, and differentiation from other, more common skin lesions.
Russula subnigricans Poisoning Causes Severe Rhabdomyolysis That Could be Misdiagnosed as Non-ST Segment Elevation Myocardial InfarctionMushroom poisoning and subsequently the number of patients visiting emergency rooms are increasing, as well as the proportion of fatal mushroom poisonings. Myocytic mushroom poisoning is one of the new clinical classifications. This report documents the course of a family with Russula subnigricans poisoning complicated by severe rhabdomyolysis, including a case that was misdiagnosed as myocardial infarction. A 64-y-old man visited our hospital with symptoms including substernal chest discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and myalgia, lasting for 12 h.
Avalanche Preparedness and Accident Analysis Among Backcountry Skier, Sidecountry, and Snowmobile Fatalities in the United States: 2009 to 2019While avalanche fatalities have remained relatively steady per year, data suggest a possible increase in sidecountry use and snowmobile fatalities. Limited information is known regarding the accident details and preparedness among different groups of backcountry users including snowmobiles, sidecountry, and backcountry skiers, and what specific factors could contribute to their fatalities.
Latency of Symptom Progression in Mild Daboia palaestinae EnvenomationDaboia palestinae is the most common venomous snake in Israel. In most cases, snakebite does not develop into a systemic disease. Since the introduction of specific antivenom therapy, the mortality rate has declined sharply. Nevertheless, there is still no uniform therapeutic protocol in Israel for patients who have been envenomated, and there is no current data regarding latency of symptom development. We aimed to evaluate the latency of symptom development after D palaestinae snakebite in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with local reaction.
Static Rope Rescue Operations in Western Norway: A Retrospective Analysis of 141 MissionsThe Norwegian national standard for rescuers describes medical and rescue requirements for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) technical crew members, but there is a lack of scientific data supporting these requirements and their safety relevance. The study aims to analyze the rescue profile of Norwegian HEMS static rope human external cargo operations, emphasizing terrain challenges and additional safety measures utilized on-site.
Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Injuries While Hiking with a Backpack at Philmont Scout RanchParticipants at Philmont Scout Ranch embark on 12-d treks with pre-trek physical conditioning and medical clearance by their primary care physician. In this study, we investigated potential contributing factors to self-reported musculoskeletal injuries during a backpack trek.
Cardiovascular and Blood Oxidative Stress Responses to Exercise and Acute Woodsmoke Exposure in Recreationally Active IndividualsThose who work and recreate outdoors experience woodsmoke exposure during fire season. Exercise during woodsmoke exposure harms the cardiovascular system, but the acute physiologic and biochemical responses are understudied. The purpose of this pilot laboratory-based study was to examine the effect of exercise during woodsmoke exposure on acute indicators of cardiovascular function, including heart rate variability (HRV), pulse wave velocity (PWV), blood pressure (BP), augmentation index (AIx), and blood oxidative stress.
Arterial Blood Gas and Rotational Thromboelastometry Parameters in Healthy Rescuers Incidentally Exposed to Nitroglycerin, Nitrogen Compounds, and Combustion ProductsAcute exposure to nitrogen compounds combined with a massive inhalation of air pollutants can influence respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and coagulation abnormalities in accidentally exposed healthy adults during cave detonation operations.
Nephrotoxic Mushroom Poisoning: Global Epidemiology, Clinical Manifestations, and ManagementBecause mushroom poisonings are increasing worldwide after ingestions of known, newly described, and formerly considered edible species, the objectives of this review are to describe the global epidemiology of nephrotoxic mushroom poisonings, to identify nephrotoxic mushrooms, to present a toxidromic approach to earlier diagnoses of nephrotoxic mushroom poisonings based on the onset of acute renal failure, and to compare the outcomes of renal replacement management strategies. Internet search engines were queried with the keywords to identify scientific articles on nephrotoxic mushroom poisonings and their management during the period of 1957 to the present.
Differential Diagnosis Between Venomous (Bothrops jararaca, Serpentes, Viperidae) and “Nonvenomous” (Philodryas olfersii, Serpentes, Dipsadidae) Snakebites: Is It Always Possible?Bites of “nonvenomous” snakes can sometimes be mistaken for the bites of venomous snakes. As an example of this confusion, this report describes confirmed bites by Philodryas olfersii and Bothrops jararaca. In the first case, a 55-y-old man with a history of controlled hypertension was bitten on his right forearm by P olfersii. Physical examination revealed extensive edema, erythema, and widespread ecchymoses throughout his right upper limb. Laboratory tests indicated leukocytosis and high D-dimer levels, but normal coagulation, suggestive of a resolved recent coagulopathy.
Massive Tick Bites Causing Spotted Fever Rickettsial Infection: A Hazard in a Tea Plantation, Sri LankaTea plantations in Sri Lanka cover the central hills of the island, where spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsial infection is common. In most cases, the history of tick bite is obscure and eschars are not present. A 45-y-old female experienced massive tick bites while working in her tea plantation. She developed fever 2 d after exposure, but the diagnosis of SFG infection was not considered until a skin rash appeared on the eighth day. She had a very high titer of antirickettsial antibodies detected by immunofluorescence assay and responded to doxycycline.
Survey of Musculoskeletal Injuries, Prehike Conditioning, and On-Trail Injury Prevention Strategies Self-Reported by Long-Distance Hikers on the Appalachian TrailStudies show that 40 to 60% of long-distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail experience musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries, but these studies are over a decade old. The increasing popularity of hiking and injury prevention advances warrant re-evaluation of injury patterns. We sought to determine the frequency of self-reported MSK injuries in long-distance hikers on the Appalachian Trail and associations with prehike conditioning and on-trail injury prevention strategies.
The Wind-Chill IndexThis Lessons from History article about the wind-chill index (WCI) explores the historical polar and meteorologic literature relevant to the topic and presents unpublished work from 1939. Geographer Paul Siple (1908–1968) was a 6-time Antarctic explorer and scientist who invented and named the WCI in his doctoral dissertation at Clark University. Siple and Charles Passel (1915–2002) performed studies in Antarctica in 1940 that led to publication in 1945. This paper is often credited as the beginning of the WCI.
Urological Emergencies and Diseases in Wilderness ExpeditionsWhen considering medical emergencies that might affect an expedition, urologic emergencies are typically not included. However, the reality is that manageable and prevalent urologic disease processes can pose significant challenges for the wilderness medicine physician and warrant consideration. The purpose of this review is to identify and discuss the most commonly encountered urologic emergencies and diseases in the wilderness setting and to prepare the expedition medicine physician for management of these urgent conditions.
Prehospital Cross-Sectional Study of Drowning Patients Across the United StatesEvery year drowning is responsible for 7% of injury-related deaths worldwide, making it the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death. However, in the United States, little is known regarding the prehospital presentation and management of these patients. The purpose of this study was to describe the drowning population in the United States, with a focus on prehospital time intervals, transport, and cardiac arrest frequency.
Rhabdomyolysis and Multisystem Organ Failure Due to Fulminant Ehrlichiosis InfectionA previously healthy 51-y-old male presented to his local emergency department with subjective fevers, myalgias, dyspnea, and generalized weakness that had been progressive for several weeks. He was initially diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, septic shock, and rhabdomyolysis requiring transfer to a tertiary care facility. He was treated for sepsis with broad-spectrum antibiotics, steroids, and a fluid bolus before transfer. Once he arrived at the tertiary care facility, he developed respiratory failure requiring intubation and ventilatory support.
Fatal Events Related to Running Competitions in the MountainsThe few epidemiologic studies published previously about different forms of mountain running (ie, fell running, sky running, and ultratrail running) have not reported on fatal events. This report aims to contribute to the literature on mountain running fatalities, recording and classifying fatal events related to mountain running competitions found in online literature searches over a 12-y period.
Point-of-Care Ultrasound Diagnosis of Acute High Altitude Illness: A Case ReportWith the advent of high-quality portable ultrasound machines, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has gained interest as a promising diagnostic tool for patients with high altitude illness. Although POCUS is used successfully in hospital environments to detect interstitial pulmonary edema and increased intracranial pressure, the relationship between specific sonographic criteria and high altitude illness is still unclear. We report the case of a healthy 32-y-old male who developed acute respiratory distress and neurologic impairment at 4321 m while participating in a high altitude medical research expedition.