Save Lives with Haemostatic Dressings

In case of a traumatic injury, the complications that arise due to hemorrhagic shock after profusely bleeding remains a medical challenge. During such instances, it is imperative to ensure that the blood loss is minimized while the patient is transported to the hospital. If blood loss is controlled, the risk of morbidity and mortality can be brought down significantly. The amount of blood loss following a traumatic injury can be reduced by the application of specialized Haemostatic Dressings. Haemostatic dressings work by promoting rapid blood coagulation at the site of bleeding to cease the blood flow. These dressings are not only used by several militaries around the world for battlefield injuries but also in workplaces, homes and emergency first aid services in case of traumatic bleeding. Haemostatic dressings are available in the form of granules attached to the surface of gauze, sponge or in a porous bag. 

Types of Haemostatic dressings There are 3 mains types of haemostatic dressings depending on their mechanism of action.

  • Mucoadhesive Agents 
Such agents work by creating adherence to the tissue which seals bleeding wounds. These are usually composed of chitosan, a biocompatible polysaccharide that forms cross-links rapidly upon encountering anionic erythrocytes. Celox is an example of a haemostatic dressing containing mucoadhesive agents.
  • Factor Concentrators 
These agents concentrate the cellular and protein component in the blood that triggers clot formation. TraumaDex and QuickClot are common examples of factor concentrators.
  • Procoagulant supplementors 
These agents deliver the procoagulant factors directly into the bleeding wound which helps in accelerating clotting. The enhanced local concentration of the coagulating factors initiates rapid clotting at the wound site. Fast Act is an example of pro-coagulant supplementors. While haemostatic gauze has been known to effectively promote blood coagulation at the site of injury or wound, there are certain features that must be considered before using this gauze. The salient features of a Haemostatic Gauze are;
  1. The gauze should be safe to use and shouldn’t further aggravate the injury
  2. It should be able to restrict bleeding rapidly
  3. The application of haemostatic gauze shouldn’t be a complicated procedure. It should be easy to apply by a non-medic or by the injured person themselves.
  4. The gauze should be ready to use and require no preparation or integration.
  5. It should be easy to remove once in a hospital setting by a medical professional.
  6. There should be minimal possibility of an anaphylactic reaction from the haemostatic gauze.
  7. The gauze should be light and durable and have a long shelf life.
  8. It should be affordable.

It has been observed that hemorrhagic shock and blood loss due to traumatic injury remain one of the leading causes of mortality pre-hospitalization.  Awareness about haemostatic dressings is critical particularly amongst those that are more prone to battlefield injuries, gunshot wounds, lacerations, stab wounds, penetrating trauma, and catastrophic injury. Training for the proper and efficient application of these dressings can help save many lives. Moreover, the timely control of blood loss during injury greatly improves prognosis in cases of injuries involving a large amount of blood loss thereby increasing the survival rates.