A Spray That Will Stop Bleeding and Save Lives

LA Fire Department ambulance. Hemogrip™ could save many lives from patients suffering from severe trauma. (Image: Coolcaesar/Creative Commons)
LA Fire Department ambulance. Hemogrip™ could save many lives from patients suffering from severe trauma. (Image: Coolcaesar/Creative Commons)

A company called Remedium Technologies is developing a life-saving technology called Hemogrip™, which will act to stop major bleeding rapidly. It is foam composed of a polymer made from crustacean shells.

It is a uniquely user-friendly hemostat that is able to produce a clot-like seal upon contact with blood. It can be used effectively by a surgeon, by a soldier, or by an unskilled “buddy.” Working under grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States Army Research Lab, Remedium Technologies is dedicated to saving lives both in the field and in the operating room, according to their website.

Advanced trauma lanes training tests medics battlefield capabilities Image: U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rafael Martie/ Wikimedia Commons

Advanced trauma training tests medics’ battlefield capabilities. (Image: U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rafael Martie/ Wikimedia Commons)

Pressure is one of the best tools that medics have to fight bleeding, but they can’t use it on severe wounds near organs. Here, compression could do more harm than good, Srinivasa R. Raghavan of the University of Maryland explained during a presentation at the American Chemical Society national meeting in Denver.

“First responders have no way to effectively dam blood flows from these non-compressible injuries, which account for the majority of hemorrhagic deaths”, Raghavan said.

Arizona National Guard hosts elite medical training Image: Sgt. Edward Balaban/Wikimedia Commons

Arizona National Guard hosts elite medical training. (Image: Sgt. Edward Balaban/Wikimedia Commons)

The Food & Drug Administration is currently evaluating Hemogrip™ for use on non-compressible injuries.

Hemogrip™ relies on chitosan, a biopolymer that comes from processed crustacean shells.

It is able to get blood cells into gel-like networks, basically forming blood clots by modifying the chitosan.

By modifying the chitosan into an aqueous solution, they are able to spray it directly onto a non-compressible wound. Because Chitosan comes from the shells of creatures such as shrimp, it is an inexpensive and readily available material.

crustaceans Image: Pixabay/ CC0 Public Domain

Plentiful crustacean shells provide the key component for Hemogrip™. (Image: Pixabay/ CC0 Public Domain)

As the solution sprays from an aerosol can, it traps bubbles of a biocompatible hydrocarbon propellant gas and begins to foam. The foam expands to cover the injury and block blood flow. Coupled with the modified chitosan’s coagulating effect, the foam can reduce blood loss by up to 90%, the researchers demonstrated during tests performed on pig livers, said C&EN on their website.

Raghavan said the foam combats blood loss, although it doesn’t repair the injured tissue, but it can help patients survive until their can get to a surgeon. Severe hemorrhage is the leading cause of death on the battlefield, accounting for over half of all preventable deaths in combat.

“We really believe we have a material here that can find its way into emergency vehicles and even in soldier’s backpacks,”he said.

As a former soldier, I think this should be pushed forward, as it will save a lot of lives. It will serve well for any first responder too.

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