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Battlefield Pain Control/Advanced Regional Anesthesia (2006)

Pain control on the battlefield is an essential part of combat casualty care. Previously this problem was addressed with injections of morphine given by the combat medic followed by administration of general anesthesia at the FST or Combat Support Hospital for those patients that required surgery. Developments in pain control for combat medics include development of a lozenge containing a powerful but non-sedating analgesic so that patients can be given pain relief without excessive sedation.

For the patient that requires surgery, especially those with extremity wounds, the AMEDD now can offer an alternative to general anesthesia called "Advanced Regional Anesthesia" in which nerve blocks are placed through in-dwelling catheters to relieve pain and sensation just in the affected areas of the body. After surgery, these catheters can be left in place to continue to administer pain medications during transport or recovery. Having a pain-free but fully awake and cooperative patient during transport is safer for the patient and enables much better en route care to be delivered.