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June 27, 2015

United States

Maryland—Yet Another Use for Chitosan


The general guidance on what to do if someone has a wound gushing blood is to apply pressure.  But sometimes a serious wound means the blood flow cannot be easily stopped with pressure alone, or applying pressure actually makes the situation worse.  An alternative way to stop the blood flow is needed, and it looks as though chitosan from shrimp shells might be the answer.


A team of bioengineers working out of the University of Maryland has developed a spray foam that is able to quickly slow and then stop the flow of blood from a serious wound.  The polymer-based spray can be directed into the wound cavity where it expands and solidifies to create its own self-supporting barrier.  This blocks the flow of blood out of the body, but the clever bit is the active material in the foam promotes natural clotting, therefore stopping blood loss quickly by aiding the body in what it is trying to do on its own naturally.


The foam is made by from the shells of shrimp and other crustaceans, treating them with alkali sodium hydroxide to form chitosan, a material with multiple biomedical uses, and then performing further modifications to create the spray-to-foam solution.  The research team has tested the spray on bleeding livers in pigs, and found that hemostasis (stopping of blood flow) was achieved within a few minutes.  Blood loss was cut by 90% compared to existing methods.


The product is very easy to transport in a pressurized spray can, similar to those used for shaving cream and hair spray.  Its ability to quickly stop bleeding even in the most traumatic of injuries means it is a great addition to the medical kit of the military and will save lives on the battlefield.


Information: Srinivasa Raghavan, Remedium Technologies, 387 Technology Drive, Suite 3110B, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA (phone 1-301-405-3585, fax 1-301-314-9592, email, webpage


Source:  Spray Foam Created From Shrimp Shells Stops BleedingMatthew Humphries.  June 26, 2015.

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