One of the tragedies of war is the almost never ending supply of young, injured patients, often bleeding heavily from both penetrating and blunt trauma. From this has come some remarkable research, and subsequent innovation, that maybe one day applied to the civilian world that we live in. An example of this so far, has been the data on massive transfusion, and the concept of damage control haemostatic resuscitation.
Now, a couple of battle hardened emergency physicians from the US have invented a device, that may mitigate the heavy bleeding associated with penetrating abdominal injuries. The idea being it is inflated around the abdomen like a blood pressure cuff until the aorta is occluded, thus potentially slowing exsanguination, allowing more time for transfer and definitve care. The device has been trialled in pigs so far, increasing abdominal pressure until blood flow to the femorals was occuluded for up to an hour. The gut tissue of the pigs remained viable, and no life threatening hyperkalaemia occured. The device has also been tested on humans for shorter durations.
There may be other applications associated with this device, outside the theatre of war. For instance, the inventors want to investigate the utility in the arrested patient, - this device may increase myocardial and cerebral blood flow during CPR. Another application maybe in patients with abdominal aortic catastrophes - allowing them more time to reach definitive care, and surgery.
Dr Richard Schwartz, Chairman of EM, Medical College of Georgia at GHSU
Dr John Croushorn, Chairman of EM, Trinity Medical Centre, Birmingham Alabama.
Emergency Medicine Physicians Develop Device to Stop Lethal Bleeding in Soldiers - (Georgia Health Sciences University January 2012)