Injectable foam could prevent blood loss, battlefield fatalities

Undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University have developed an injectable foam system designed to prevent fatal blood loss and stop profuse bleeding. The prototype is designed to treat battlefield injuries to soldiers, as tourniquets and gauze pads often cannot stop blood loss from deep wounds at the neck, shoulder or groin where the precise source of blood loss is not easily located.

“The foam fills up the wound opening, hardens and applies pressure to the walls of the cavity,” Allie Sanzi, a participant in the project, stated in the release. “This should lead to more effective targeting and treatment at the source of the bleeding.”

Two chemicals produce the foam: a polyol and a diisocyanate. Each are stored in separate canisters within an injector about the size of a whiteboard marker. The canisters are designed to keep the chemicals stable for up to 1 year, at temperatures of 100° F.

The person administering the treatment would mix the two chemicals with a mechanism inside the injector, then push down, inserting the foam into the wound to reduce bleeding. The goal of the device is to apply pressure and prevent blood loss during the first 60 minutes a wounded soldier is being moved to a site that provides more advanced medical attention.

The undergraduates showcased their device at the annual Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering Design Day event and received a faculty award for best design process.

No human testing has taken place, but the students have received university approval to begin animal testing of the prototype system. They will work with faculty advisers and medical sponsors to decide how to move the project into military settings.

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