02 February 2009

Hemostatic Agents

Before I start, if there is anyone who checks this out with any kind of regularity, I apologize. I am currently training for another deployment and just haven't been in the mood to post.

Hemostatic agents have truly become a battlefield force multiplier by themselves. In the hands of a good Combat Medic, the use of hemostatic agents can literally mean the difference between life and death.

So, the problems with Quikclot are well documented; it caused 2nd degree burns and would harden to the point that the surgeons had to literally chip it out of the wound cavity, causing more damage to the patient. So, now we've moved well beyond that. We have the HemCon bandage. I've never had an opportunity to use it, thankfully. I'm not sure I'd care for it to much, as I don't want to take the time to cut it down to size to fit over the wound.

The two agents I've used and really liked are Wound Stat and Combat Gauze.

The Wound Stat is a mineral based formula that looks a lot like kitty litter. When you start pouring it into the wound, it takes the consistency of wet kitty litter. But, the stuff molds like play doh. You just keep pouring onto the wound and molding, with pressure, and it will stop the bleeding. Now recently, the Army has decided to stop using it and pull it from the Medics. Supposedly, someone is concerned that some of the granules can make its way into the blood stream and cause an embolism. Personally, I think it's crap. If that is the reason it was pulled, I have not heard a single documented instance where that happenned. The stuff works. I like it and hopefully the Army will start using it again.

Quikclot's Combat Gauze is another product that is a must have. One of the things we tend to do is stuff a wound cavity full of kerlex and wrap it tight, so why not build on that with a hemostatic agent? That's what Quikclot did and it is bad ass. You just shove it into the wound and hold pressure for 3-4 minutes and then wrap it up tight with your emergency bandage or an ace wrap. This stuff works. I swear by it and have used it. An aid bag without it is incomplete.

In the end, whether you prefer to use the emergency bandage or or ace wraps or whatever, hemostatic agents are a must have on today's battlefield. Learn to use them and apply them.