An Oregon based startup might have revolutionized the way we heal gunshot wounds.
Startup RevMedx, which develops products for military medics and members of the emergency services, has created a device that can heal a gunshot wound in 15 seconds, Popular Science reports. The device is called XStat, and its creators are hoping the FDA will approve it for use by medical professionals.
XStat consists of an applicator filled with dozens of tiny sponges that soak up a ton of blood when injected into an open wound. It's kind of like a tampon for bullet wounds, we guess.
And those pesky little sponges won't get lodged and lost in your body forever. They're marked with something called a "radiopaque marker," which means they'll show up on an x-ray when the victim reaches the hospital.
Currently, military medics and civilian first responders typically use gauze to heal gunshot wounds—a process that's apparently painful as hell, and not particularly efficient. "A medic must pack gauze directly into the wound cavity, sometimes as deep as 5 inches into the body, to stop bleeding from an artery," Popular Science explains. "It’s an agonizing process that doesn't always work—if bleeding hasn't stopped after three minutes of applying direct pressure, the medic must pull out all the gauze and start over again." Nice.
According to Popular Science, the RevMedx team received $5 million from the U.S. Army to finish developing the product. The company also won a seed grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a version of XStat that helps stymie postpartum bleeding.
If approved by the FDA, it'll be interesting to see how XStat holds up against QuikClot, a product used by the military and New York City's Emergency Service Unit to help stop rapid bleeding. QuikClot consists of a medical gauze infused with kaolin, a substance that promotes blood clotting. Using QuikClot involves packing the kaolin-soaked gauze into the victim's wound, in the same way that medics might use regular gauze—except it stops bleeding a lot faster.
Betabeat asked Giacomo Basadonna, QuikClot's chief medical officer, if he saw XStat as a competitor. While Dr. Basadonna acknowledged that the new device could be helpful in certain situations, he pointed out that it's still not FDA-approved (unlike QuikClot), and that QuikClot would do a better job of treating larger injuries—like a wound from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan.
Either way, it's good to know that we'll be well cared for should we ever come in contact with, you know, an organ destroying bullet or something.
CORRECTION: Betabeat has modified its description of QuikClot to reflect the product's most recent generation.