I recently read an article about an invention that can significantly impact the lives of soldiers defending the country. It’s remarkable how science is constantly changing the landscape of all aspects of life. The invention discussed in the article is used to stop the bleeding when a soldier is wounded in battle. Currently, gauze is used to attempt to stop bleeding but it is rather ineffective in stopping hemorrhages. Gauze doesn’t work for any serious injuries and if the bleeding doesn’t cease after three minutes, new gauze must be inserted. The product, invented by RevMedx, is a pocket-sized syringe that injects specially coated sponges into wounds. The product supposedly plugs wounds faster and more efficiency than gauze.
The product, which was inspired by a foam product used to fix flat tires, was first conceived as a spray in foam. The inventors found that a human’s blood pressure would wash the foam right out. The inventor team decided to use kitchen sponges and cut them into 1 cm diameter circles. After receiving a grant from the U.S. Army, the team set out to find a material that was sterile, biocompatible, and fast expanding. The sponge they decided on was made from wood pulp and coated with chitosan, a blood-clotting antimicrobial substance that originates from shrimp shells. The sponges expand in a mere 15 seconds to fill the entire wound cavity.
The next issue was figuring out how to get the sponges into the wound. Since the product would have to be carried by medics on the battlefield, it had to be lightweight and not cumbersome. They ended up with what is pictured first in the post, a polycarbonate syringe. The cylinder is forced into the wound and then the sponges are expelled to stop the bleeding. They also produced a smaller version of the applicator for narrower injuries. The FDA and RevMedx are in the final discussions to make the product available to the military.
RevMedx is continuing to invest in the research and apply it to several different applications. They are working on versions to stop postpartum bleeding, and biodegradable sponges that don’t have to be removed from the body. They are also experimenting with the idea of sponges used to cover large injuries, like those inflicted by land mines. The product appears to be invaluable to the military and will absolutely save lives. This product is incredibly interesting and I’m sure they will continue exploring different applications and areas that the sponges can be used. Check out Popular Science to read articles about the cutting edge of science in the world.