Hemo-halt bandage: a dressing for rapid prevention of blood loss
Blood loss during accidents, operative procedures, and at the battleground can often be fatal. A remedy has come from a group of scientists in Pune. Heavy bleeding can be stopped in a matter of three minutes if you wrap up the wounds with the special hemostatic gauze ‘Hemohalt’ containing chitosa fabricated by the scientists at Pune’s Agharkar Research Institute (ARI). The material is absorptive, robust, and can be easily ripped off, according to a recent report in Indian Express newspaper.
Worldwide, uncontrolled hemorrhage is the leading cause of traumatic death during accidents or injuries among the military and civilian populations. Severe bleeding triggers trauma due to shock, hypothermia, coagulopathy, tissue damage, and organ failure that often causes mortality. Therefore, efforts for early hemorrhage control are important to prevent disability or death during severe blood loss. Though critical care guidelines recommend topical hemostatic agents in the form of pads, patches, bandages, or gel applications for early control of bleeding, most of these are inadequate in halting heavy blood loss.
Conventional physical hemostatic agents like bone wax and gelatin foam, biological agents such as bovine thrombin, and fibrin sealants, and synthetic agents including cyanoacrylates and glutaraldehyde, cause inflammation, viral infection, and tissue toxicity. Considering these limitations, the development of effective and safe dressing for hemorrhage control occupies high significance for both civilian and battlefield populations.
MACS-Agharkar Research Institute, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed a hemostatic bandage that incorporates chitosan (a natural glucosamine-containing polymer) and of agonist (a substance that improves clotting) nanoparticles for rapid hemostasis.
Chitosan, which can be controls bleeding due to its cationic nature and hydrogel-forming ability that leads to the concentration of erythrocytes and platelets in the injury site. Commercial chitosan preparations like Celox, a lightweight chitosan foam powder produced by bubbling, and Hem-Con, chitosan-coated bandages, are approved by FDA and are in use for hemorrhage control by the US army.
However, these wound dressings show variable performances due to a lack of stabilization of blood clots, mechanical strength, lack of porosity, and a tendency for adherence to wound surface. In the newly developed homeostatic bandage, the synergistic effects of combining chitosan and agonist nanoparticles resulted in the highly efficient blood clotting ability.
The hemostatic gauze has the added advantage of the ease of removal from the injury site. The GLP studies have been undertaken for this product which will help in commercialization. The indigenous bandage will be an import substitute to foreign brands like Celox, Hem-Con, Chitoclot, etc., promoting the make-in-India effort. Hemostatic soft gels are also being developed that can be applied to soft tissues and organs.
Apart from minimising blood loss before treatment coupled with potential as a sanitary pad with superior absorption, the sterile product has a shelf life of two years.