The Xstat is a pocket-sized invention that could soon save the lives of many wounded soldiers on the battlefield.
It's a groundbreaking medical device that may soon be found in the gear bags of U.S. Military medics and first responders across the globe.
Popular Science reported that after seeing the prototypes, the U.S. Army gave RevMedx $5 million to develop the XStat, the first-in-kind hemostatic device. The Army has also asked the Food and Drug Administration to quickly approve the technology, so that it can get into the hands of field medics as soon as possible.
RevMedx's invention solves an age-old problem for medics on the battlefield: How do you quickly stop bleeding in a gunshot wound and seal it off completely?
Medics usually pack gauze directly into a wound in order to stop severe bleeding from damaged arteries; however, it's a painful and sometimes ineffective solution to treating severe bullet wounds. It's a problem that former United States Army Special Operations medic and RevMedx developer John Steignbaugh saw all too often throughout his military career.
"I spent the whole war on terror in the Middle East, so I know what a medic needs when someone has been shot," Steinbaugh told Popular Science. "I've treated lots of guys who would have benefited from this product. That's what drives me."
How does the XStat Device Work?
The initial prototype of what would become the XStat 12 used foam injection, similar to the foam material that's used to quickly seal car tires on the roadside. But the foam injections proved ineffective at stopping heavy bleeding. RevMedx's solution was to use small foam sponges, cut into one-centimeter circles, that could be delivered through the syringe.
The sponges are made from wood pulp, and coated with a type of blood-clotting, antimicrobial substance that's found in shrimp shells. When injected into the wound, the sponges take just 15 seconds to expand and completely fill the cavity and stop heavy bleeding. Each sponge is marked with an X that shows up during an X-ray scan, so that they can be easily found and removed in post-treatment.
The XStat syringe is a 30 millimeter-diameter polycarbonate pocket-sized life-saving device that stores with the handle inside, so that medics can carry multiple applicators in the field.
Popular Science reported that both RevMedx and the Army were in the final stages of talks with the FDA to get the XStat approved.
RevMedx is also working on a version of the XStat that can stop postpartum bleeding. The company, along with Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, won a seed grant in 2013 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to adapt the technology for medical use.
If this device could save lives and prevent traumatic injury, then it's the type of product we can expect, eventually, to trickle down to the wilderness survival and disaster prep markets. We should be encouraging any medical device company that's willing to invest time and effort into emergency surgical care.
This seemingly simple syringe-like applicator could be the beginning of a revolutionary wave, changing the way we treat extremity wounds.
That's something we can all learn from.