When soldiers become injured, time is of the essence. In the case of gunshot wounds, gauze is packed within a cavity and pressure is quickly applied to stop the soldier from bleeding out -- but the experience is extremely painful and gauze is often insufficient.
As a leading cause of death on the field, unstoppable bleeding claims the lives of many soldiers. As a result, former U.S. Army Special Operations medic John Steinbaugh, alongside a group of veterans, scientists and engineers, decided to come up with something more effective.
The group, Oregon-based startup RevMedx, created XStat, a modified syringe which injects small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity. The sponges are coated with a hemostatic agent and compressed, but once injected, expand to create a barrier to blood flow and provide direct pressure -- in the same way a medic tries to with gauze.
To make sure no sponges are left inside the body accidentally, X-shaped markers ensure each sponge is visible on x-ray images.
In testing, it takes just 15 seconds for the sponges to cover an entire wound and create enough pressure to stop the bleeding. One of the main benefits of using sponges rather than gauze is the fact sponges cling to moisture -- which means they are not pushed back by gushing blood.
"By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped," Steinbaugh told PopSci.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been asked to approve the device, which was completed due to a $5 million grant by the U.S. Army after the organization viewed early prototypes.