The most common way to die from a traumatic injury is from substantial blood loss. Now, an experimental “injectable bandage” material has been developed to slow down that blood loss process in ways today’s technology can’t.
Why don’t regular bandages suffice? While they do slow bleeds, they have their drawbacks – namely the force used in the technique, which can aggravate internal injuries acquired during the same trauma. Not to mention the amount of blood that can be slowed is limited with just gauze and pressure.
The injectable bandage, in theory, could enter the wound itself, conforming to its shape, and plugging the blood spillage for good.
In a paper published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia, a team of Texas A&M University researchers reported that they had successfully developed a so-called hydrogel that could do just that. They pitched the invention as a solution to ‘battlefield wounds’, mixing seaweed-derived kappa-carrageenan and ceramic molecules to develop the material. The ceramic is the major innovation here, strengthening the bandage without making it less useful.
The material is designed to solidify after being injected into a wound, with the study authors reporting it can maintain most of its strength even after 72 hours in water.
The researchers have yet to field-test their injectable bandage, and aren’t the first to develop a sort of injectable-bandage prototype. Still, their findings are hopeful hints at how technology can evolve for the better in the future.
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