The first time I’d heard the term “hemostatic” was early in my Marine Corps career. It was at a traumatic first aid course with our company Corpmen teaching us things that would later save lives less than a year later in Afghanistan. The word hemostatic comes from two words. The first is “statikos,” also known as static, which means to stop. “Hemo” comes from the word “hemorrhage” so combined they mean essentially to stop bleeding.
At the time our hemostatic agent was called Quikclot, and it came vacuum sealed in a green package. We carried a couple of these in our first aid kits and knew in the emergency situation if we had to use them it was going to burn, burn pretty terribly, but it could save a life. The application was limited, and you could only use it in an extremity. Using it in the torso could cause death. QuickClot was brutal but effective, limited but revolutionary.
Shortly prior to touching Afghan soil we were introduced to a new product, Combat Gauze, made by QuikClot. Soon enough the old packages we had were discarded and Combat Gauze took its place. Combat Gauze was an amazing improvement over standard QuikClot. Gone was the burning that occurred when using QuikClot, and Combat Gauze could be used anywhere normal gauze could be used on the human body.
Combat Gauze faced some very real limitations, like regular gauze. First off, stuffing a wound full of gauze can be difficult to do when bullets are flying, and it can be slow and quite painful for the patient. In the moment someone in extreme pain can resist, and fight and struggle and generally make treating them very difficult. The time it takes to shove gauze to the bottom of the wound is valuable time that can be used to apply pressure and prevent a patient from losing blood.
Now there is a new product called XStat, which supposedly can close wounds in a matter of seconds. I have been in talks and meetings with several of my friends in the EMT field, Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen, as well as infantryman on this particular product and its combat usefulness.
So far I’ve heard universal support. The XStat is basically a syringe filled with dime-sized sponges coated with a hemostatic agent. I originally saw a picture and thought it was simply a stock image for the website. The picture is a syringe filled with what looks like pills — actually they kind of look like Sweet Tarts.
The Sweet Tarts are actually the sponges and the syringe is designed to be shoved into a wound and injected, immediately applying pressure. An immediate advantage of this would that a medic could inject sponges coated with the agent, have a fellow soldier or Marine apply pressure and move on to the next casualty if necessary.
A second advantage is the ability to quickly apply pressure and lose less blood. This advantage is where civilians can find a niche with this product. Another advantage is the fact it takes very little training to use. A third advantage is the fact it’s easy to use if you’re the person wounded; it’s going to hurt, but it can save your life.
Story continues below video
Outside of the military, the applications for this are excellent. Besides law enforcement and EMTs, it does have a civilian use. It does not require extensive training to use, and the time it provides and the blood it stops you from losing can buy enough time for a higher echelon of care to arrive.
I keep an extensive first aid kit packed away in my car, and one in my home, and I keep it packed with some extra QuikClot Combat Gauze, but this product would be right at home. Home invasions aren’t exactly common, but they do happen. Home invasions are violent by their very nature; the men kicking down the door are not looking to simply steal your goods, but they are looking to kill you.
This product has a use outside of a violence-based first aid. Imagine the lives this could save when it comes to car accidents. EMTS would be able to quickly plug wounds and save blood on the way to the hospital. Hikers could carry a couple of these in case of a fall or an animal attack.
XStat has the potential to be a truly radical product that can save life after life.