ARLINGTON, Va. — Defense officials have recommended two hemostatic products to treat life-threatening bleeding.
The first product is QuickClot Combat Gauze, made by Z-Medica Corporation, based in Wallingford, Conn; and the second is "WoundStat," made by TraumaCure Inc., in Bethesda. Md.
Studies have shown that both products worked better than hemostatic agents that troops have now to stop bleeding, said Dr. David S. Wade, of the office of the assistant secretary of Defense, Health Affairs.
Based on the results, the Defense Department Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care recommended that Combat Gauze and WoundStat to be used as the first and second lines of treatment respectively for bleeding that cannot be stopped with a tourniquet, Wade said.
Medical personnel prefer to use gauze instead of something granular as the first line of defense against severe bleeding, he said.
"This preference is based on field experience that powder or granular agents do not work well in wounds where the bleeding vessel is at the bottom of a narrow wound tract," he said. "A gauze-type hemostatic agent is more effective in this setting."
In other words, applying Combat Gauze to bullet, stab or shrapnel wounds works better because you are applying both pressure and a clotting agent to the bleeding vessel, kind of like filling a hole with putty instead of sprinkling filler over a hole, a Defense health official said.
However, WoundStat may be the better option to get into the nooks and crannies of irregularly shaped wounds, such as those from roadside bomb blasts, said Devinder Bawa, chief executive officer of the company that makes the product.
It can also stop bleeding in places where tourniquets won’t work, such as the femoral artery in the groin area, said Bawa, of TraumaCure Inc., in Bethesda, Md.
"That’s exactly the type of injury that these products are tested on," he said.
WoundStat has also shown it can stop high pressure bleeding within a minute, unlike other products, which can take several minutes, Bawa said.
"It’s very effective particularly in forming a seal and adhering to the wound," he said.
Dr. Kevin Ward is one of the researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University who invented WoundStat.
He said one advantage of WoundStat is that you can form a new seal over a wound without adding more of the product.
That means you don’t have to replace old bandages with fresh ones if a wound starts bleeding again.
WoundStat would also come in handy with wounds where you can’t see where the bleeding is coming from, Ward said.
"The way this works, you don’t even need contact with the bleeding site; you just have to seal the opening," he said.
Right now, TraumaCure is waiting to hear back from the services on how many orders of WoundStat they need, Bawa said.
"Frankly, we’re waiting to hear with terrific anticipation — as you might expect — how we can begin to deploy WoundStat to boots-on-the-ground warfighters," he said.
Decisions on fielding WoundStat are outside the purview of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care, Wade said.
"This body of subject matter experts does not make acquisition decisions for the services or medical departments," he said. "However, their recommendations are provided to medical logisticians for their consideration."
Representatives from the four services were still working on a query Thursday on whether they plan to buy WoundStat.
PDF SlideshowView graphics of WoundStat at work