A syringe which injects tiny sponges just saved a soldier's life for the first time

Image: RexMedX

Warning: Post contains a graphic medical image

Let’s start by hoping you or anyone you know never has to use the device pictured above.

Because if you do, a) it’s most probably due to a horrific gunshot wound, and b) you’ll have to stick that syringe in the wound.

Then, with a push on the plunger, it will release those tiny sponges into the wound, which will swell up, and hopefully, save a life.

It’s called the XSTAT, and recently, it did just that. The Journal of Emergency Medical Services last week reported that for the first time, the XSTAT had been deployed on a patient in the battlefield, and it saved the patient’s life.

The JEMS reports:

Based on information released from the US Military, a coalition forces soldier was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. The femoral artery and vein were transected and damage to the femur and soft tissue left a sizable cavity in the leg.

Throughout the course of the roughly 7-hour surgery, multiple attempts at using bone wax and cautery on the bleeding sites were unsuccessfull and the patient received multiple units of blood and plasma. Eventually, the FST team opted to use XSTAT and applied a single XSTAT device to the femoral cavity— resulting in nearly immediate hemostasis. The patient was stabilized and eventually transported to a definitive care facility.

The XSTAT was first unveiled back in 2014 by privately held Oregon company RevMedx, which specialises in innovative medical products.

It’s definitely a worst-case scenario application and there’s a range of situations in which its use is inappropriate, even dangerous, as the tiny sponges expand and block blood flow within 20 seconds. Each contains an x-ray detectable marker so they don’t get lost.

One application can absorb up to half a litre of blood, but up to three can be used. The dressing lasts about four hours.

According to the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, 30-40% of civilian deaths by traumatic injury are due to haemorrhaging. A third of those victims die before reaching a hospital.

Look away know if you don’t want to see the diagram showing it in action:

Image: RexMedX

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