The SWAT-T tactical tourniquet is an ‘esmark’ like compliant (elastic) wrap that stretches with perfect memory to return to its baseline length.
I first used it on my right upper arm over bare skin to see if I could do it one handed and gain the ‘tightness’ needed for it to act as a tourniquet, not just a pressure dressing. It was easy to apply although the first and second revolution around my arm was not as tight as you want, it quickly grabbed itself with friction and I tightened it and ‘tucked’ the end under a layer to completely shut off flow to my radial and ulnar arteries. This was checked with a color flow doppler/duplex ultrasound machine in our vascular lab in our hospital. As I released it, flow was restored after 2-3 revolutions back around my arm, releasing the tourniquet effect. There was no pinching of my skin or discomfort at all. NOTE: it took me about 20 seconds to stretch/wrap/tuck it into place to occlude the vessel; this would likely speed up with experience.
Next I placed it on my upper and lower leg positions using 2 hands; I could occlude distal flow, verified by color Doppler, in 8-9 seconds.
CONCLUSIONS: it performs as advertised with no discomfort unlike what most other tourniquets cause when tightened. It weighs almost about the same as a CAT, takes up about the same space in a pouch. I am quicker 1 handed with a MAT as well as 2 handed vs. this one but the price of $8.50 beats everything out there. I tried my best to break it while stretching it around my leg….no way, not unless there is something like glass/shrapnel around to snag it.
It truly is multipurpose: pressure dressing/tourniquet, anywhere an elastic bandage can be utilized. I give it 4.99 stars out of 5.0…..nothing is ever perfect but this comes close, it has earned my endorsement.
I have used it in the Trauma resuscitation bay when other hospital provided tourniquets failed. The case was captured on camera and is posted on the manufactures website as a case report. It was utilized by a surgical resident that had no experience with it and figured it out on his own and applied it properly with no training; he simply followed the directions printed on the tourniquet.
I have issued the SWAT-T to all members of the two SWAT teams that I am the Medical Director of Tactical Medicine for and have trained all of the SWAT personnel on its use and plan to obtain them for all non-SWAT personnel in each department: Arizona Department of Public Safety (State Police) as well as the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It meets my critical criteria for field use: it is safe and effective, multipurpose and cost effective. I carry 25 of these in a dump pouch that can be utilized for mass casualty events such as school shootings or other such events that have the potential for multiple extremity wounds. They are light weight, compact and easy to stow on your personal gear. I highly recommend this tourniquet be tested for military use.