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DARPA's Wound Stasis Technology Could Save Lives

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Published on Dec 10, 2012

For more information on the Wound Stasis program, see: http://go.usa.gov/gn25.

Battlefield medical care administered by first responders is often critical to the survival of injured servicemembers. In the case of internal abdominal injuries and resulting internal hemorrhaging, however, there is currently little that can be done to stanch bleeding before the patients reach necessary treatment facilities. The resulting blood loss often leads to death from what would otherwise be potentially survivable wounds.

A foam-based technology developed under DARPA's Wound Stasis System program has demonstrated encouraging results in testing. In test models, the foam has been shown to control hemorrhaging in a patient's intact abdominal cavity for at least one hour. During testing, application of the product reduced blood loss six-fold and increased the rate of survival at three hours post-injury to 72 percent from the eight percent observed in controls.

The foam is designed to be administered on the battlefield by a combat medic, and is easily removable by doctors during surgical intervention at an appropriate facility. In tests, removal of the foam took less than one minute following incision by a surgeon. The foam was removed by hand in a single block, with only minimal amounts remaining in the abdominal cavity, and with no significant adherence of tissue to the foam. Features appearing in relief on the extracted foam showed conformal contact with abdominal tissues and partial encapsulation of the small and large bowels, spleen, and liver.

Program performer Arsenal Medical, Inc. developed the product for DARPA, with additional funding from the Army Research Office.

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