Foam Stops Internal Bleeding

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If you've ever used a can of Great Stuff, you know what an amazing job the foam insulation does sealing up gaps and cracks around the house.

In similar fashion, The Defense Advanced Research Projects

Agency (DARPA) has developed their own spray foam; only their version can be

injected into a wounded soldier's abdominal cavity to help stop internal

bleeding.

When soldiers are wounded on the battlefield, getting them

to advanced-level treatment facilities within the first 60 minutes of injury

often makes the difference between life and death.

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During this "Golden Hour," internal bleeding –

particularly in the abdominal cavity — is life-threatening because there

is little that can be done to stop the bleeding. Internal wounds can't be

compressed like external wounds, nor can they be treated with tourniquets and

hemostatic dressings, which require a medic to access to the injury in order to dress it.

DARPA hopes their new foam can help the wounded survive

until they get to treatment facilities. Designed by Arsenal Medical as part of

DARPA's Wounded Stasis Program, the polyurethane polymer foam can be injected

by a field medic in two liquid phases, a polyol phase and an isocyanate phase.

When the liquids mix, they expand to 30 times their original volume.

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As it expands, the foam fills the abdominal cavity and

conforms to the surface of the injured tissue and organs. The foam then

hardens, providing resistance to intra-abdominal blood loss. DARPA says the

foam can even expand through pooled and clotted blood.

During tests, removal of the foam took less than one minute after an

incision by a surgeon. Only minimal amounts of the foam remained in the

abdominal cavity and no significant amount of tissue stuck to the foam.

No human tests have been conducted yet. However, tests on

swine did show that the foam raised survival rates for liver injuries after

three hours from eight to 72 percent and reduced blood loss by six fold. DARPA recently awarded Arsenal Medical a

$15.5 million contract for Phase II of the project to continue development in

hope of future FDA approval of a prototype device.

via Gizmag

Credit: DARPA