Countless military lives could be saved in the future thanks to a new remarkable foam.
Made by Arsenal Medical and fittingly dubbed ResQ Foam, this remarkable innovation rapidly expands inside the body and seals off the wound.
Bleeding to death is the leading cause of fatalities on the battlefield, according to the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research. So the US military has long been searching for a solution that would tackle this problem.
The foam has enormous potential for civilians.
In combat, immediate evacuation of the wounded to surgical care is seldom possible. Rescue and evacuation can take quite a while and many warfighters bleed out before there is a chance for them to reach a trauma surgeon.
So how does it work?
The foam doesn’t repair the injury. Instead, ResQ Foam (which must be injected) stabilizes the wounded.
The injector looks like the sort of device you would use to caulk a bathtub. It is designed so that two chemicals mix and this triggers the foam to activate.
Once the foam is injected in the abdomen, it rapidly expands. It can expand to an astonishing 35 times the original volume.
The foam buys the patient about three more hours to get to a surgeon – this can be the critical difference between life and death.
When the wounded reaches a surgeon, the ResQ foam can be removed.
Saving American warfighters
In the future, ResQ Foam has the potential to save countless military lives.
At this time, most of the hemostatic options for truncal wounds are powders or bandages. To be effective, these require the ability to see the wound and manually compress.
When will it reach battlefields?
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began the wound stasis program in 2010 seeking a solution to this tough challenge of major abdominal bleeding due to trauma. After very promising early results, the project transitioned to the Army in 2015.
This year, ResQ Foam received an Investigational Device Exemption from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which means that the FDA has approved Arsenal Medical's request to begin the clinical trial process.
The project is being managed by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency. The key clinical trial is expected to begin next year.
This story has been updated to clarify additional details about the project.
Allison Barrie is a defense specialist with experience in more than 70 countries who consults at the highest levels of defense and national security, a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees, and author of the definitive guide, Future Weapons: Access Granted, on sale in 30 countries. Barrie hosts the new hit podcast “Tactical Talk” where she gives listeners direct access to the most fascinating Special Operations warriors each week and to find out more about the FOX Firepower host and columnist you can click here or follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie and Instagram @allisonbarriehq.