A new medical device might give more hope to wounded soldiers on the battlefield by stopping bleeding almost immediately.
Developed by a team of engineers at MIT in collaboration with Ferrosan Medical Devices in Denmark, the new tool is a coating that contains thrombin—a protein involved in blood clotting that has already been used for years to control wounds. The coating also contains tannic acid, a molecule found in tea.
Consisting of two alternating layers, the coating can be sprayed onto sponges and subsequently stored for months at a time. By coating the sponges ahead of time, these thrombin-filled tools become particularly advantageous since they can easily be packed, stored and pulled out for use whenever the time may come.
The engineers' high hopes for the product were confirmed after testing the sponges on animals at Ferrosan. When applying a thrombin-coated sponge to a wound, bleeding stopped in 60 seconds. Without the thrombin, bleeding did not stop for over two minutes. When using only a simple gauze patch, the bleeding did not stop at all.
With uncontrolled bleeding as the leading cause of trauma death on the battlefield, the coating is a serious breakthrough for soldier technologies.
Image: Wikimedia/Nevit Dilmen