Objectives: Uncontrolled hemorrhage remains one of the leading causes of trauma deaths and one of the most challenging problems facing emergency medical professionals. Several hemostatic agents have emerged as effective adjuncts in controlling extremity hemorrhage. However, a review of the current literature indicates that none of these agents have proven superior under all conditions and in all wound types. This study compared several hemostatic agents in a lethal penetrating groin wound model where the bleeding site could not be visualized.
Methods: A complex groin injury with a small penetrating wound, followed by transection of the femoral vessels and 45 seconds of uncontrolled hemorrhage, was created in 80 swine. The animals were then randomized to five treatment groups (16 animals each). Group 1 was Celox-A (CA), group 2 was combat gauze (CG), group 3 was Chitoflex (CF), group 4 was WoundStat (WS), and group 5 was standard gauze (SG) dressing. Each agent was applied with 5 minutes of manual pressure. Hetastarch (500 mL) was infused over 30 minutes. Hemodynamic parameters were recorded over 180 minutes. Primary endpoints were attainment of initial hemostasis and incidence of rebleeding.
Results: Overall, no difference was found among the agents with respect to initial hemostasis, rebleeding, and survival. Localizing effects among the granular agents, with and without delivery mechanisms, revealed that WS performed more poorly in initial hemostasis and survival when compared to CA.
Conclusions: In this swine model of uncontrolled penetrating hemorrhage, SG dressing performed similarly to the hemostatic agents tested. This supports the concept that proper wound packing and pressure may be more important than the use of a hemostatic agent in small penetrating wounds with severe vascular trauma.
© 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.