Effect of special operational forces surgical resuscitation teams on combat casualty survival: A narrative review


The most common cause of preventable death on the conventional battlefield or on special operations force (SOF) missions is hemorrhage. SOF missions may take place in remote and austere locations. Many preventable deaths in combat occur within 30?min of wounding. Therefore, SOF damage control resuscitation (DCR) and damage control surgery (DCS) teams may improve combat casualty survival in the SOF environment.


To determine the effect of SOF DCR and DCS teams on combat casualty survival. Also, to describe commonalities in team structure, logistics, and blood product usage.


A narrative review of the English literature used a Medline and Embase search strategy. The authors were contacted for more details as required. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's ROBINS-I tool. Pooling of data was not done to the heterogeneity of studies.


Weak evidence was identified showing a clinical benefit of SOF DCR and DCS teams. Conflicting evidence from less rigorous studies was also found. The overall risk of bias using ROBINS-I was serious to critical. Several commonalities in team structure, training, and logistics were found.

Conclusions and Relevance

There is conflicting evidence regarding the effect SOF DCR and DCS teams have on combat casualty survival. There is no strong evidence that SOF DCR and DCS teams cause harm. More robust data collection is recommended to evaluate these teams.