May 17, 2019 08:34 AM EDT
Collaborators from various institutions in China developed a hydrogel that can stop uncontrolled bleeding from a punctured artery.
Surgical procedures and trauma could result in uncontrolled bleeding. Bleeding usually is a result of damage to an organ like the liver or a major artery. A person will die if there is no immediate action. Present treatment procedures involve clamping the artery and then using sutures to close the wound. The researchers previously attempted to create a kind of glue to stem such wounds. However, none works as the materials could either be toxic or could not withstand the high liquid pressure in the bloodstream.
The researchers developed a hydrogel comprised of water, gelatin, and a mix of proteins and other chemicals. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Communications. The hydrogel was designed to be at proximity to human connective tissues. The hydrogel thickens and solidifies when shined on by UV light. It sticks to the wound and prevents blood from flowing out in just 20 to 30 minutes. The scientists observed that the hydrogel can also withstand up to 290-mmHg blood pressure which is higher than the normal range.
The hydrogel was tested by piercing the carotid artery of a test pig and using the gel to close the wound. It not only closed the wound, but it also healed the wound. There was little to no inflammation within two weeks. The hydrogel harmlessly decomposed into the body. Phys further reports that, "The team also tried their hydrogel on a rabbit by cutting and repairing its femoral artery. They also poked a hole in its liver and used the gel to stop the bleeding. More work will need to be done to further test the safety of the gel before it can be tried in human patients."
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