In response to mass casualty events, The Hartford Consensus brought together subject matter experts across multiple disciplines in health care and public safety to create guidelines and publications intended to improve survivability in active shooter events. Among the recommendations was the earlier recognition and treatment application of life-threatening hemorrhage control. These recommendations culminated in efforts to create the Stop the Bleed Campaign, which aims to empower the layperson to render aid in a life-threatening bleeding emergency. As of February 2020, the program has held over 86,000 courses, trained over 1.4 million attendees, and over 77,000 instructors since its inception. In addition to spreading within the United States, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Stop the Bleed (StB) classes have been held in 118 different countries. This systematic narrative review aims to answer the following research question: What does the ACS StB Initiative do well, and where can it improve?
Materials and Methods
The following search terms were utilized: “Stop the Bleed,” “American College of Surgeons,” “bleeding control,” “first-aid,” tourniquet, “wound pack,” “direct pressure” hemorrhage, and bystander. The inclusion criteria were that the article needed to speak to the program or some aspect of bystander first aid, the article needed to be in a civilian setting, the article needed to be more than a case study or overview, and the first aid tools needed to be in the StB curriculum. 4 databases were searched, which produced 138 articles for screening. One hundred four full-text articles were able to be retrieved, and 56 articles were determined to meet the inclusion criteria once the full text was reviewed.
Fifty-six articles were included in the final review and were placed into the following categories: Needs Within the Community, Confidence and Knowledge, Training Modalities, Barriers and Gaps in Training, Instructor Selection, Skill Retention, and Patient Outcomes. The articles were then organized into each outcome for synthesis and reporting of the results. The program overwhelmingly improves short-term confidence, but gaps in skill retention, data collection on patient outcomes, and settings that would benefit were identified.
StB is an effective tool in building confidence in laypersons, which is its biggest strength. A review of the literature shows several areas where the curriculum and materials could be better developed. Research can also be further refined to better quantify the program’s impact.