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Safest light in a combat area while performing intravenous access in the dark
  1. Attila Aydin1,
  2. S Bilge2 and
  3. M Eryilmaz2
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
  2. 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Health Sciences University, Gulhane Research and Training Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
  1. Correspondence to Attila Aydin, Department of Emergency Medicine, Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital, Istanbul TR 34662, Turkey; drattilaaydin{at}


Introduction Cannulation for the administration of intravenous fluids is integral to the prehospital management of injured military patients. However, this may be technically challenging to undertake during night-time conditions where the use of light to aid cannulation may give the tactical situation away to opponents. The aim of this study was to investigate the success and tactical safety of venepuncture under battlefield conditions with different colour light sources.

Method The procedure was carried out with naked eye in a bright room in the absence of a separate light source, with a naked eye in a dark room under red, white, blue and green light sources and under an infrared light source while wearing night vision goggles (NVGs). The success, safety, degree of difficulty and completion time for each procedure were then explored.

Results All interventions made in daylight and in a dark room were found to be 100% successful. Interventions performed under infrared light while wearing NVGs took longer than under other light sources or in daylight. Interventions performed under blue light were tactically safer when compared with interventions performed under different light sources.

Conclusion Blue light offered the best tactical safety during intravenous cannulation under night-time conditions and is recommended for future use in tactical casualty care. The use of NVGs using infrared light cannot be recommended if there is the possibility of opponents having access to the technology.

  • battlefield
  • darkness
  • intravenous access
  • night vision goggle
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  • Contributors SB and AA conceived of the idea and designed the study. SB and AA carried out the data analysis, which was overseen by ME, and interpreted the findings. AA and SB wrote the first draft of the report, which was critically reviewed and edited by all authors. All authors approved the final article.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol, involving resuscitation manikins, was approved by the Gülhane Military Medical Academy Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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