A sponge injection could save the lives of people with gunshot wounds, Sky News reports. A device called XSTAT 30 squirts out 92 tiny compressed cellulose sponges coated with a blood absorbing substance. The sponges can soak up around a pint of blood, swelling in the process to fill-in a wound and stopping more blood from flowing out.
That could prevent life-threatening blood loss from a gunshot wound victim as they are transported to hospital. The device has just been approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by emergency services. It was originally designed to deal with combat-related bullet and shrapnel wounds.
FDA executive William Maisel said: “When a product is developed for use in the battlefield, it is generally intended to work in a worst-case scenario where advanced care might not be immediately available. “It is exciting to see this technology transition to help civilian first responders control some severe, life-threatening bleeding while on the trauma scene.”
Statistics from the US Army Institute of Surgical Research show that about 30-40% of civilians who die from traumatic injuries do so because of blood loss. Up to 56% of these deaths occur before the patient reaches the hospital. Each sponge has an X-ray detectable marker so that no sponges are accidentally left behind when a patient is stitched up.
The device only has partial clearance, and cannot currently be used in certain parts of the chest, abdomen and pelvis.