Background: Topical hemostatic agents have generated intense research interest in recent years, prompted in part by the demands of wartime medicine. Numerous animal studies demonstrate variable degrees of efficacy of a variety of agents; however, little clinical data are available in severely traumatized patients. This report describes 30 consecutive uses of the modified rapid deployment hemostat (MRDH) during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Methods: In a prospective observational fashion, traumatized patients presenting to a combat support hospital or a forward surgical team with difficult to control hemorrhage (due to anatomy, limited resources, or tactical environment) had the MRDH applied to severely bleeding wounds. Basic demographics, wounding mechanism, wound characteristics, circumstances, and efficacy were recorded. Presence of a clinical coagulopathy was also noted.
Results: Thirty hemostatic bandages were applied to 19 patients with a wide variety of wounds. All but one application occurred in the operating room. The demographics were mean age 27 years (range, 9-55 years), 95% male, 68% penetrating or fragmentation, and four casualties had a clinical coagulopathy. Hemostasis was achieved following application of the hemostatic agent in 16 of 19 wounds. Rebleeding occurred upon removal in three cases. In all cases, the patient failed conventional interventions at hemostasis before the hemostat was applied.
Conclusions: This is the single largest description of the clinical efficacy of the MRDH and the first description during combat operations. The MRDH bandage was an effective hemostat for temporarily controlling hemorrhage in difficult circumstances. Caution should be exercised when removing the dressing as rebleeding may occur.