Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Injectable foam could prevent fatal blood loss in wounded soldiers

Date:
July 10, 2014
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
A student-invented battlefield medical device has potential to save soldiers with deep wounds, especially at the neck, shoulder or groin. Without prompt care, a badly wounded soldier can easily bleed to death while being transported to a distant medical station. Tourniquets and medicated gauze pads often cannot stop the blood loss from a deep wound at the neck, shoulder or groin. To give these soldiers a fighting chance at survival, an injectable foam system designed to stop profuse bleeding from a wound has been developed.

This prototype device, invented by Johns Hopkins undergrads, is designed to inject a foam that hardens and halts bleeding within a serious combat wound.
Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

Without prompt care, a badly wounded soldier can easily bleed to death while being transported to a distant medical station. Two traditional treatments -- tourniquets and medicated gauze pads -- often cannot stop the blood loss from a deep wound at the neck, shoulder or groin.

To give these soldiers a fighting chance at survival, Johns Hopkins undergraduates have invented an injectable foam system designed to stop profuse bleeding from a wound where a limb or the head is connected to the torso. The students' invention is designed to apply pressure and curb blood loss during the critical first hour during which a wounded soldier is moved to a site that provides more advanced medical help.

The new battlefield treatment is needed, the students say, because a tourniquet or a gauze pad with a clotting agent are difficult to apply effectively to deep wounds at these junctional body sites. In addition, the precise source of blood loss in such wounds is not always easy to find.

"The problem is that damage from bullets and bone fragments deep inside a junctional wound is not always visible from outside the body, and a regular clotting agent may not be able to reach the origin of the bleeding," said Sydney Rooney, leader of the biomedical engineering student team that sought to solve this problem. "We came up with a foam injection system that fills the wound area and blocks the blood loss."

She said the goal is to prevent wounded soldiers from losing more than half of their blood volume before they reach a medical facility. The aim is to reach such a facility within 60 minutes, the so-called golden hour during which trauma care is most successful.

"Our project has been dealing very literally with a life and death matter," Rooney said. "At the end of the day, that provided some extra motivation for our team."

Last fall, she and seven other Johns Hopkins undergrads chose to develop this battlefield blood-loss prevention system from a list of possible class projects. Their prototype emerged from the Johns Hopkins undergraduate design team program in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, which is shared by the university's School of Medicine and its Whiting School of Engineering.

To get a sense of what happens when soldiers are wounded, the students first conducted experiments with a gel that mimics the consistency of human tissue. The students used a rod to create "blood vessels" filled with water within the gel. Team members then carved "wounds" into the gel to simulate the bleeding process. To stop blood loss from such a wound, the students identified two liquid chemicals that, when mixed, rapidly form a polyurethane foam.

"The foam fills up the wound opening, hardens and applies pressure to the walls of the cavity," said Allie Sanzi, who participated in the project during her freshman year. "This should lead to more effective targeting and treatment at the source of the bleeding."

The two chemicals that produce the foam -- a polyol and a diisocyanate -- remain in canisters that are stored separately within the injector device before they are needed. The students designed the canisters to keep the chemicals stable in military conditions at temperatures up to 100 degrees F for at least one year. The injector is about the size of a whiteboard marker. On the battlefield, the soldier administering the treatment would mix the two chemicals with a mechanism inside the injector. Then, pushing down the plunger would insert the expanding foam into the wound to reduce bleeding.

The students' project was proposed and supervised by two surgeons at All Children's Hospital, a Johns Hopkins Medicine facility in St. Petersburg, Fla. All Children's serves as a clinical training site for medics in the Green Berets, Navy Seals, Army Rangers and Marine Special Forces who require pediatric emergency response experience. This allowed the student inventors to meet with these teams and the surgeons to discuss the project and prototypes.

One of the sponsoring surgeons, Paul D. Danielson, a military veteran who is now medical director for pediatric surgery at All Children's, said the students' device looks quite promising, even though it's still at the prototype stage.

"I don't think it's pie in the sky at all," he said. "I think it's a very viable solution to a problem that's been plaguing us on the battlefield."

Another of the students' sponsors and advisers, All Children's pediatric surgeon Nicole Chandler, was impressed by the undergrads' solid grasp of design and clinical issues. "I think the students did a wonderful job on this project," she said. "Their understanding of some medical concepts was beyond that of many medical students. They came up with a simple, intuitive design that has the potential to save many lives."

The student inventors showcased their device at the annual Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering Design Day event, organized by the university's Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. At the event in May, the battlefield wound treatment received a faculty award for best design process and a second-place audience choice honor for its poster. In addition to Rooney and Sanzi, the members of the student team were Katie Hochberg, Logan Howard, Austin Jordan, Divya Kernik, Jeff Knox and Ernest Scalabrin.

The students have received university approval to begin animal testing of the prototype system, but have not yet begun such procedures. No human testing has taken place. The students plan to work with their faculty advisers and medical sponsors to determine how to move the project eventual adoption and use in military settings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University. "Injectable foam could prevent fatal blood loss in wounded soldiers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111523.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University. (2014, July 10). Injectable foam could prevent fatal blood loss in wounded soldiers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111523.htm
Johns Hopkins University. "Injectable foam could prevent fatal blood loss in wounded soldiers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710111523.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins