Working closely with Special Operations Forces medics, Revmedx developed a novel hemostatic dressing (XSTAT
The team settled on a sponge made from wood pulp and coated with chitosan, a blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance that comes from shrimp shells. To ensure that no sponges would be left inside the body accidentally, they added X-shaped markers that make each sponge visible on an x-ray image.
The sponges work fast: In just 15 seconds, they expand to fill the entire wound cavity, creating enough pressure to stop heavy bleeding. And because the sponges cling to moist surfaces, they aren’t pushed back out of the body by gushing blood. “By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped,” Steinbaugh says.
Getting the sponges into a wound, however, proved to be tricky. On the battlefield, medics must carry all their gear with them, along with heavy body armor. RevMedx needed a lightweight, compact way to get the sponges deep into an injury. The team worked with Portland-based design firm Ziba to create a 30 millimeter-diameter, polycarbonate syringe that stores with the handle inside to save space. To use the applicator, a medic pulls out the handle, inserts the cylinder into the wound, and then pushes the plunger back down to inject the sponges as close to the artery as possible.
Three single-use XStat applicators would replace five bulky rolls of gauze in a medic’s kit. RevMedx also designed a smaller version of the applicator, with a diameter of 12 millimeters, for narrower injuries. Each XStat will likely cost about $100, Steinbaugh says, but the price may go down as RevMedx boosts manufacturing.
Last summer, RevMedx and Oregon Health and Science University won a seed grant, sponsored by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop a version of XStat to stop postpartum bleeding. In the future, RevMedx hopes to create biodegradable sponges that don’t have to be removed from the body. To cover large injuries, like those caused by land mines, the team is working on an expanding gauze made of the same material as XStat sponges.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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