Marking a potentially huge advancement in trauma care, researchers have for the first time created self-propelled particles in the form of powder that can stop severe bleeding in such cases as post-partum haemorrhage or gunshot wounds.
Traditional methods of halting severe bleeding are not very effective when the blood loss originates inside the body like the uterus, sinus or abdomen.
“People have developed hundreds of agents that can clot blood but the issue is that it is hard to push these therapies against severe blood flow, especially far enough upstream to reach the leaking vessels,” said Christian Kastrup, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
“Here, for the first time, we have come up with an agent that can do it,” Kastrup said.
Kastrup teamed up with a group of researchers, biochemical engineers and emergency physicians to develop simple, gas-generating calcium carbonate micro-particles that can be applied in powder form to stop critical bleeding.
The particles work by releasing carbon dioxide gas, like antacid tablets, to propel them toward the source of bleeding.
The carbonate forms porous micro particles that can bind with a clotting agent known as tranexamic acid, and transport it through wounds and deep into the damaged tissue.
After studying and modelling the movement of the particles in-vitro, the researchers confirmed their results using two animal models.
Even in a scenario that mimicked a catastrophic event like a gunshot wound to a femoral artery, the particles proved highly effective in stopping the bleeding.
While much more rigorous testing and development is needed to bring the agent to market, the particles could have a wide range of uses, from sinus operations to treating combat wounds.