The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that a novel wound dressing, used to control severe bleeding in wounded soldiers on the battlefield, will be available to treat civilian trauma patients.
The FDA cleared XSTAT-30 (RevMedX) wound dressing for civilian patients at high risk for immediate, life-threatening, and severe hemorrhagic shock and non-compressible junctional wounds when they cannot be treated at an emergency-care facility within minutes. The new dressing is however not recommended for certain parts of the chest, abdomen, pelvis, or tissue above the collarbone, according to an FDA news release.
The wound dressing product consists of a syringe-style applicator holding 92 compressed cellulose sponges with an absorbent coating. The sponges expand with blood and fluid to fill the wound cavity, temporarily blocking blood flow for up to 4 hours. Each applicator's worth of sponges can absorb about one liter of blood, although the number of sponges needed to control bleeding will vary by the size and depth of the wound.
The FDA cited research by the US Army showing that 30 to 40 percent of civilian deaths from traumatic injury result from hemorrhaging, often before the patient reaches the hospital. Moreover, people injured in car wrecks, industrial accidents, and shootings have the same kind of severe wounds seen on the battlefield. The FDA limited the initial product to military use last year to give it a trial run before expanding its use now.