Bullet sponge syringe saves its first battlefield life

Update: The bullet sponge syringe has saved its first Battlefield life. According to XSTAT, a coalition soldier was shot in the left thigh, and seven hours of surgery wasn’t enough to stem the bleeding from the femoral artery. The XSTAT syringe was used, and was able to immediately plug the wound, allowing the soldier to move on to a definitive care facility.

Andrew Barofsky, president and CEO of RevMedx – the company behind XSTAT – said “We are pleased to see XSTAT play a critical role in saving a patient’s life and hope to see significant advancement toward further adoption of XSTAT as a standard of care for severe hemorrhage in pre-hospital settings.”

The original article continues below.

Should you ever be shot, the most important thing to do is to stem the blood flow. This can be difficult in combat, where your army colleagues have to also concentrate on staying alive themselves, and may not be able to provide aid in a timely manner. In fact, since the Second World War, nearly half of all combat deaths have been down to exsanguinating haemorrhage. That’s bleeding out to you or me.

Stopping that blood flow is literally a matter of life and death, but it usually takes over three minutes to compress and block off a wound, and – depending on the location of the shot – that could be too long. On top of that grim fact, existing tourniquets have their limitations and can’t be used in certain areas.

The XSTAT 30 fixes all of these problems, and the American army has been using it for eight months. It’s a 30mm-wide syringe packed with 92 tiny sponges designed to plug a wound, absorb the blood and expand to prevent further blood loss. Each sponge expands to around ten times its size, and a single application can prevent blood loss for up to four hours: plenty of time to seek more sophisticated medical assistance.

It has now been approved by the FSA for public use, where you’d hope it comes under less strain that its extended test in the armed forces.

XSTAT 30 is cleared for use in patients at high risk for immediate, life-threatening, and severe hemorrhagic shock and non-compressible junctional wounds, when definitive care at an emergency care facility cannot be achieved within minutes,” reads a statement from the FDA, but it has its limitations. If you’re shot on the abdomen, pelvis, tissue above the collarbone or certain parts of the chest, you’re out of luck.

So it’s no substitute for urgent medical care from a doctor, but the XSTAT 30 could buy you the time you need to seek out aid, and live to see another day.

READ THIS NEXT: If you prefer your bleeding to stop eight seconds faster, there’s always this amazing gel…

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