Medicine for the Outdoors
Medicine for the Outdoors

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the world's leading outdoor health expert. His blog offers tips on outdoor safety and advice on how to handle wilderness emergencies.

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Bloodstopping Ability of Amylopectin Powder

Michael Kilbourne and colleagues recently published an article entitled “Hemostatic Efficacy of Modified Amylopectin Powder in a Lethal Porcine Model of Extremity Arterial Injury”( Annals of Emergency Medicine 2009;53:804-810). The purpose of the study described in this article was to investigate the blood-stopping ability of a modified amylopectin powder in an animal (pig) model of severe limb bleeding created by an injury to the femoral artery.

Following creation of the injury, animals were treated either with regular gauze with manual compression or with specially modified amylopectin powder and manual compression. Some of the endpoints measured in the study were total blood loss, survival, and time to bleeding cessation.

Post-treatment blood loss in the amylopectin powder-treated group was much less (approximately 0.275 liter) than in the gauze group (approximately 1.3 liters). Bleeding was stopped in approximately 9 minutes in the amylopectin group, and never stopped in the gauze group. 100% of the amylopectin animals survived, and none of the gauze animals survived.

While this study was directed to improve care for victims of major trauma (including wartime situations), the applicability to situations in the outdoors is direct. Many blood-stopping bandages have come to the civilian market, and they are quite useful. I carry them with me whenever I’m going into the wilderness, and often when I cover athletic events as the team doctor. They’re useful for nosebleeds and cuts, not just for severe injuries. Some of the product names include HemCon Bandage, QuickClot, BleedArrest, QR, Celox, and BloodStop. There will undoubtedly be improvements in these products, in particular the delivery systems, be they bandages or powders.

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About the Author

Dr. Paul S. Auerbach is the world’s leading authority on wilderness medicine.