The U.S. military had asked medical technology company RevMedx, to find a solution for helping stop gunshot and shrapnel wounds from excessive bleeding. This idea of using a foreign substance to plug a hole is not a new one.  The idea is a medical version of Fix-a-Flat; the foam that is squirted into punctured tyre to plug up the hole.

Andrew Barofsky, RevMedx’s CEO, said Instead of foam, it was a sponge that fixed the issue.  “One of the co-founders of the company, Dr. Ken Gregory, was shopping at a Williams-Sonoma and discovered this kitchen sponge that was dried and compressed. You’d bring it home, splash water under it, and it would pop up into a normal-sized kitchen sponge…That was kind of a light-bulb moment.”

The concept was eventually turned into XStat: a dose of tiny sponge-like discs that are injected into an open wound with a syringe. The sponges have been treated with an anti-hemorrhagic substance and can expand to 10x their original size in matter of seconds.  The effect is that it will plug the wound and also providing the needed compression to stop the bleeding.


John Steinbaugh, a former Special Forces medic and the company’s director of strategic development, said it could be a revolutionary battlefield tool. He says “In battle, life is measured in blood, and the standard method of plugging wounds, packing them with gauze or tampons and then applying direct pressure for several minutes, can take several minutes too long.   Bleeding out is a major cause of fatalities…Three to five minutes can mean the difference between life and death…Medics were looking for something that “you fire and forget”…You put it in and the bleeding instantly stops.” “Every drop of blood on the battlefield is precious…The faster you can stop the bleeding, the higher the probability you can save a guy’s life.”

XStat has recently received FDA approval only 2 months ago and RevMedx is now ready to ship to medics, says Barofsky. The firm’s CEO is expecting to provide a limited quantity of XStats to the U.S. military this year.  With the hopes of expanding the market to different clients, like paramedics and law enforcement officers in the coming years.

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[Image via wgno]