Gun violence is quickly becoming one of the major killers in the United States, with more than 33,000 people dying every year as a result of ballistic trauma. Of them, nearly 20,000 commit suicide, while the remaining 11,000 cases are homicides. In 2015 alone, there have been as many as 462 mass shootings in the country. To assist first responders while dealing with gunshot victims, Oregon-based company RevMedX has developed an innovative wound dressing, known as XSTAT 30, that can plug a bullet wound in as little as 15 seconds. What is more, the FDA recently approved its use in the general population.
When its comes to gunshot wounds, first responders have the responsibility of keeping the bleeding under control, as severe blood loss can lead to other, often fatal, complications. According to the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, for instance, around 30 to 40-percent of trauma-related civilian deaths are the result of hemorrhage or excessive bleeding. In 33 to 56-percent of such cases, the patient dies before even reaching a hospital.
Developed last year mainly for use in the battlefield, the XSTAT Rapid Hemostasis System is designed to prevent victims of gun violence from bleeding out. Shaped like a syringe, this unique, expandable dressing is more efficient than the traditional tourniquet in managing gunshot wounds in the groin and shoulder regions. It effectively seals the wound, by pumping several tablet-sized sponges into the gash. Meanwhile, the patient can be rushed to the hospital for further treatment.
Each of these tablets are standard medical sponges, containing an external coating of a hemostatic agent. The sponges, which expand upon contact with blood, can stay intact for up to four hours. One XSTAT unit can absorb nearly a pint of blood, and a total of three applicators can be used on a single patient. To ensure easy and proper extraction, each tablet comes with a special radiopaque marker that can be detected using X-ray imaging.
Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration gave clearance for the use of XSTAT in the battlefield. This time around, the device has been cleared for civilian use, especially in cases of severe, life-threatening hemorrhagic shocks. According to the developers, the device cannot be used to treat gunshot wounds in certain areas of the chest, the abdomen, the pelvis or even the part above the collarbone. During a recent FDA announcement, Dr. William Maisel said:
When a product is developed for use in the battlefield, it is generally intended to work in a worst-case scenario where advanced care might not be immediately available. It is exciting to see this technology transition to help civilian first responders control some severe, life-threatening bleeding while on the trauma scene.
To know more about RevMedX and XSTAT, head over to the company’s official website.