Stop Bleeding Fast: Trauma Foam

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Just like a stream, blood flows freely from Jenny’s wound. She cut herself while trying to slice some vegetables for cooking. She curses herself for being clumsy and for accidentally making a cut in her hand. Will this bleeding ever stop? How?

Then she remembers that time when exposed to the emergency department during their clinical duty when she witnessed how a nurse tended to a patient with horrible cuts. If there’s a lot of blood flowing from her small wound, how much more blood will be lost for those kinds of patients? Especially if they are far away from hospitals? Is there any way healthcare professionals could help stop the bleeding? If there is, what is it?

Introducing Trauma Foam

Worry about too much blood lost no more. Researchers have found a better way to deal with bleeding other than by using tourniquets and bandages. Introducing, trauma foam.

This so-called “trauma foam,” is the first-of-its kind technology intended to slow the rate of internal bleeding long enough for a patient to reach a hospital and receive a life-saving operation. This foam is injected into a patient’s abdomen in two phases, which then results in a chemical reaction that causes the foam to increase and apply the necessary pressure to temporarily suppress the internal bleeding.

The foam, which is in development for more than four years, is also said to have the potential to be a valuable treatment option for civilian patients especially those who are injured in car crashes or other serious accidents.

Trial tests

According to trauma surgeon David King and researchers from Arsenal Medical, Oregon Health Sciences University and the University of Texas-Houston, the foam (when they tested it on animals) can potentially extend a patient’s life by as many as three hours—a significant amount of time considering that injuries of this kind can become fatal in a matter of minutes.

They also had the chance to test it on humans, more specifically the recently deceased. They did so by injecting varying amounts of foam into the abdominal cavities of recently deceased human beings. This procedure had to be done within two to three hours of death since the temperature and tissue compliance of the body matters and the foam performs differently at altered temperatures.

They had to test it in conditions that closely resembled a living person, which resulted to being able to test the right human doses that would minimize bowel damage without putting live humans at risk.

Too good to be true

Though this may seem like something that is too good to be true, there are still drawbacks.

According to King, “unlike many other medical devices, the safety and effectiveness our trauma foam can only be determined by using it on uncontrollable bleeding cases in the field. Although I believe it should be through in about 6 months, you never truly know for sure when it comes to FDA approval.”

 

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Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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