Background: A variety of local haemostatic agents is now available to stop troublesome bleeding. These agents are indicated for use during surgical interventions where conventional methods of haemostasis are not applicable because of the site of surgery or the degree of bleeding.
Method: A literature search using the PubMed and ISI Web of Knowledge databases identified relevant studies on topical haemostatic agents. Manufacturers' recommendations were also sought through commercial websites.
Results and conclusion: A significant body of evidence now exists to support the use of topical haemostatic agents in a wide variety of clinical situations. The advantages and disadvantages of many of these agents are highlighted.