A Sponge That Plugs Gunshot Wounds, Now Approved for Civilian Use

Shaunacy Ferro
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In 2014, the U.S. military got a revolutionary new device to help wounded soldiers: a sponge-based wound dressing that can stop hemorrhaging in places where a tourniquet isn’t possible, like in the armpit or groin. This week, the FDA approved it for civilian use, too, putting a potentially life-saving tool on the market and into the hands of first responders. 

Called the XSTAT 30, the syringe-like applicators each contain 92 compressed sponges that expand into the wound cavity, staunching the flow of blood (not unlike a tampon for gunshot wounds). They can be used for up to four hours and can absorb a pint of blood. They are designed to keep patients from bleeding out before they can reach a hospital. 

Image Credit: RevMedx

Up to 40 percent of deaths by traumatic injury in the U.S. are because of a hemorrhage, according to the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research. Initially designed to plug up gunshot and shrapnel wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, the technology could keep civilian gunshot victims alive for long enough for them to get treatment. And there are plenty of lives on the line: each year, around 130,000 people in the U.S. get shot. 

[h/t Fast Company]