Novel Haemostatic Bandage

Successful immediate treatment of conflict wounds is important and determines survival chances. In conflict wounds, hemorrhage is the leading cause of death, while infection is the next leading cause. Dr Choon Hwai Yap and colleagues at Imperial College, London are developing technology with great promise of addressing both.

Currently, bandages used to stop conflict wounds rely on soaking up blood to cause clotting, inevitably leading to substantial loss of blood and high risks of death. When the bandages need to be removed, they tend to be stuck to blood clots, and the removal reopens wounds, leading to infection. Dr Yap and colleagues recently discovered a new nanofibrous material design that has excellent wound bandage properties. The material can withstand high blood pressure without wetting, enabling it to avoid high blood loss when pressed on the wound, and yet it causes blood to clot quickly upon contact to stop bleeding. After clotting, since the material does not wet with blood, it detaches easily and painlessly from the clot without re-tearing the wound. The material also naturally resists bacteria attachment, allowing it to better maintain sterility. This technology is published and patented.

The team is researching ways to optimize the material design to improve functionalities and to design and prototype conflict wound medical devices for eventual commercialization, including bandages for severe skin wounds, and filler sponges for deep gunshot wounds. By stopping bleeding fast, their technology can reduce casualties in conflict wounds. By preventing infection, it can prevent health deteriorations and medical procedures that are disfiguring.