Brain and Body

This Sponge-Filled Injection Saved a Wounded Soldier’s Life

June 1, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

Photo credit: Screen grab from CNN video

After traditional methods of blocking bleeding failed.

Back in 2014, XSTAT™, a device made by RevMedx Inc., was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to control the bleeding from severe wounds in adults and adolescents.

Even following FDA approval, it can take years for new technologies to hit the market and make an impact, but RevMedx just announced that the XSTAT injection has officially saved its first life on the battlefield.

The device works by sending tiny cellulose sponges into the body — they’re made from wood pulp and coated in a blood coagulant (which thickens blood) and an antimicrobial called chitosan, which is derived from crustacean shells and used to treat obesity and high cholesterol. WebMD reports that plastic surgeons sometimes apply chitosan directly to places they’ve taken tissue from in order to help the “donor tissue” rebuild itself.

SEE ALSO: This Swallowable, Origami Robot Is Designed to Unfold in Your Body to Patch Wounds

Each little sponge measures 9.8 millimeters in diameter, and as soon as they come into contact with blood, they expand to about 10 times their original size. This swelling can fill a wound cavity in just seconds to temporarily block bleeding, and each sponge can absorb 3 milliliters of blood or other body fluids.

Now, RevMedx has announced the first case of XSTAT saving a life. Based on information released from the US Military, a coalition forces soldier was wounded in action after being shot in his left thigh, opening the femoral artery and damaging the femur and soft tissue.

A self-applied tourniquet was immediately applied, and doctors attempted to stop the bleeding over the course of a roughly 7-hour surgery with bone wax and cautery, but to no avail. The wound’s residual bleeding continued, and the soldier received multiple units of blood and plasma to make up for the loss.

Eventually, the doctors decided to apply a single injection of XSTAT to the wound, which resulted in “nearly immediate hemostasis,” according to the press release. This means that the bleeding stopped right away, and the soldier stabilized. He was eventually transported to a definitive care facility.

DON'T MISS: Snake Venom Could Lead to Safer Surgeries

"The first-in-human experience with XStat is the culmination of tremendous effort on the part of both RevMedx and our military collaborators," Andrew Barofsky, CEO of RevMedx, said in the press release. "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 haemorrhage in pre-hospital settings."

The XSTAT creators note that each sponge contains an x-ray detectable marker to make sure no sponges drift off into the body undetected — they can be spotted and later removed if necessary.

To see how the injection works, check out the video below:


You might also like: Brain Implant Restores Function to the Hands of a 24-Year-Old Quadriplegic

Hot Topics

Facebook comments