An Inflatable Tourniquet to Slow Abdominal Bleeding in Soldiers

Two emergency physicians with some impressive war-time credentials, from Georgia Health Sciences University and Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, have developed a device to prevent severe abdominal bleeding in soldiers. According to the inventors, when a soldier is shot in the abdomen severe bleeding occurs due to rupturing of the major vessels in this region, making it a common target for insurgents and a difficult fix for the field medics. Due to the shape and size of the abdomen, it is difficult to apply a tourniquet or effectively apply external compression.

To overcome this problem, the physicians have come up with an inflatable, wedge-shaped bladder embedded into the abdominal aortic tourniquet. The device is wrapped around the body at the navel level, tightened and inflated into the abdomen until it occludes the aorta and stops the bleeding, hopefully increasing the chances of survival.

So far the device has undergone testing in animals and humans to demonstrate proof of concept. The inventors have also received premarket clearance for the abdominal aortic tourniquet from the FDA and some early orders from the military. They believe the device may also be used to control drug delivery during CPR in the future. We can envision this device being used on patients who arrive to ORs with ruptured AAAs, prior to undergoing endovascular or open AAA repair.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

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