The Food and Drug Administration is now considering an Army-funded technology – based on the expanding dinosaur sponges so popular among children – that experts say could save lives on the battlefield.
Called XStat, the new device reportedly allows a field medic to inject a wound with 92 sponges, each initially 3 millimeters thick that quickly expand through contact with blood to 50 millimeters thick.
A spokesman for the manufacturer -- Oregon-based RevMedx -- told ArmyTimes the sponges not only can stop hemorrhaging within 15 seconds, but represent a departure from existing technology because they exert constant pressure to a wound without the need of the medic’s attention.
“If you pack gauze into a wound and take your hands off, there’s no pressure on the [blood] vessel,” John Steinbaugh told ArmyTimes. “Every minute you’re holding pressure, that’s time a medic can’t treat someone else because he’s trying to stop bleeding.”
Steinbaugh is reportedly a vice president with the company and former U.S. Special Forces medic.
Interestingly, a RevMedx intern reportedly formulated the concept and prototype for the product with some inspiration loaned from the dinosaur-shaped sponges that quickly expand through contact with water.
According to the ArmyTimes, XStat was developed through a $5 million investment from the Army and Special Operations Command -- and that Army officials are now saying FDA approval is “imminent.”
The news agency cites a 2012 Army study in attributing 90 percent of the potentially survivable battlefield fatalities to hemorrhages.
“It is very good, and we need to get it out for people to start using it,” Col. Dallas Hack told Army Times. “The special forces community is very interested in taking this along. It’s at least as good as what we have now, probably better.”
Hack is director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program at the Medical Research and Material Command at Fort Detrick, Md.