Gas-Propelled Microparticles: A Revolutionary Method Of Controlling Severe Blood Loss

Severe blood loss is one of the leading causes of casualties on battlefields around the world. In fact, not all troops that die in the field are fatally wounded, but the continuous loss of blood can weaken them even further and leave them more vulnerable to death. While there have been many innovations in this field in recent years to restrict blood loss due to an injury, which have definitely improved the process of controlling blood loss, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Fortunately, as it turns out, there is a new method in development that will change the way we treat severe blood loss in a major way.

Existing Methods

injury

Credits: Shutterstock

In ancient times, there were no efficient ways to curb blood loss; people had to simply make do with leaves and rudimentary bandages, apply pressure to the wound, and maybe slather on some antiseptic plant paste. As time passed, new methods were developed. Now, we have much better tourniquets and kaolin-impregnated bandages that pull excess water from clotting blood. We also have chitin-infused bandages that seal the edges of wounds and protect them from further inflammation or infection. All of these techniques have saved countless lives, but severe blood loss remains a serious issue.

The Problem With the Existing Methods

bandage

Kaolin impregnated bandage (Image Source: http://www.quikclot.com)

Although these methods can provide a quick solution to curb blood loss, they can’t be counted on if medical help is delayed or far away. The thing about blood is that it is very powerful (which is usually a good thing for us). Blood always manages to ooze out of wounds, carrying all the artificial chemicals (from the bandages) that were busy working on the wounds. In other words, it takes away those very chemicals which were sitting on the wound, trying to make it better or at least, keeping it from getting any worse.

So in a situation where expert medical help is not very quick, blood manages to seep through the barriers imposed by bandages on the wound and the problem of blood-loss is remains invincible.

Introducing gas-propelled microparticles

The main requirement to solve the problem of blood-loss is that blood remains clotted and does not ooze or spurt out. Christian Kastrup, a biomedical engineer at the University of British Columbia, has come up with a novel solution which does just this. He has designed a bandage that has powdered calcium carbonate with tranexamic acid. The purpose of this combination is to block the clotting enzyme, thrombin.

microparticles

credits: drawing/Shutterstock

How it works?

Put this special bandage on an open wound and the process starts. The water from the wound comes in contact with calcium carbonate and starts to fizz to form bubbles and releases carbon dioxide. This reaction pushes thrombin deep into the bloodstream where it does its clotting with relative ease. Note than when a part of the body gets injured, the wound is supplied of blood by the inner blood vessels which may have been ruptured due to the injury. Normal bandages take care of the surface of the wound, but these special bandages work on the inside, accelerating the process of clotting and curbing blood-loss.

Think of the enormous number of lives that could be saved just by making a small change in the way we provide first aid to people. This new design is definitely one of the most ground-breaking inventions of our times.

References:

  1. Self-Propelled Powder Stops Severe Bleeding – Standford Medicine News
  2. Self-propelled particles that transport cargo through flowing blood and halt hemorrhage – Science Advances
  3. Self-Propelled Powder To Stop Bleeding – PHYS ORG
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About the Author:

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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