SOCOM Issues New Blood Sponges for Wounds on the Battlefield
The military special ops are receiving a supply of injectable sponges that are designed to stop blood hemorrhaging on the battlefield. This could eventually result in a widespread use of the device across the services.
An Oregon-based company called RevMedx, Inc. announced on April 16th its first delivery of XStat hemorrhage-control devices to the military, only nine days after the FDA approved it for battlefield use.
The XStat is composed of a pocket-sized syringe full of 92 small, disc-shaped sponges made of sterile cellulose coated with the clotting agent, chitosan. The tiny sponges can expand to about 10 times their size and provide hemostatic pressure to block blood flow until a wounded patient can get to surgery.
According to an Army study in 2012, “hemorrhaging accounted for 90 percent of deaths in potentially survivable battlefield cases.”
Jeff Luciano, the assistant program manager of U.S. Special Operations Command’s tactical medical programs, claims the device will save lives by cutting down the two to three minute process of packing wounds.
“The ability to pack a wound within seconds, to get to a point of a bleed, can allow a medic to focus on the patient. It frees up the medic’s hands instead of trying to maintain pressure on a wound,” Luciano stated. “It’s not a game-changer per se, but it provides a capability that we’ve never had.”
Not only does the device assist on the battlefield, it can bring a benefit to the operating table. Rather than pull pieces of combat gauze out all at once – which could release more blood – a doctor can pick out bits of the sponge carefully to access certain areas, while the remaining sponges act as a barrier.
To ensure no pieces are left behind, markers are visible by x-ray on each sponge.
In a press release, RevMedx CEO, Andrew Barofsky, said, “we designed the XStat with direct input from military medics and first responders to provide a unique solution to the issue of junctional hemorrhage. We are looking forward to creating new and exciting products based on the XStat concept.”
Luciano declined to release information on how many XStat devices were purchased by SOCOM. “It’s extremely limited because of the cost […] I’ve been instructed not to provide any further detail as far as quantity. It’s a limited purchase and limited distribution with SOCOM.”
Navy Capt. Kevin Aandahl said distribution would include special operations troops from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy. The selected units for try out “would be units most likely to need it: deploying units.”
According to Ellen Crown, an Army Medical Research and Material Command spokeswoman, the Army’s medical command has yet to purchase some of the devices, but the FDA approval on XStat means that any individual unit can order the product independently.
Luciano claims SOCOM plans to purchase a greater quantity of XStat once full-rate production is underway. He declined to release the per-unit cost of the product, partly due to the expected price drop once full-rate production launches. He did indicated that XStat isn’t cheap, but much of the cost is from the “hand-made manufacturing” process. No other command has decided to make future purchases, according to Luciano.
Luciano also says larger production will increase inventory and reduce the cost of the device and Xstat “will be a medical device everyone should have.”
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Source: Army Times