Severe bleeding is a primary cause of death for soldiers wounded on the battlefield. Deep shrapnel and gunshot wounds can be notoriously difficult to control, particularly in soft tissue places such as the neck, shoulder, and groin. Now undergrad students at Johns Hopkins University have developed a prototype device to help address such trauma in a speedy fashion.
The new device is a large plastic syringe with two compartments, similar to epoxy injectors, holding a polyol and a diisocyanat, chemicals that produce polyurethane foam when mixed. The foam hardens shortly after injection and delivers pressure to the wound from within. The hope is that the foam will help soldiers from bleeding out while they’re on the way to a medical facility where a surgeon can address the wound directly.
The idea is not entirely new. The XStat Rapid Hemostasis System was recently approved by the FDA for battlefield use, but unlike the JHU device it injects tablet sized sponges that absorb blood, expand, and help prevent bleeding from deep wounds.
Here’s one of the students behind the project presenting the new device: