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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Celox™ Hemostatic Granules

Lately, I've been publishing more posts than usual about products. The reason for this is that I have noticed a large number of innovative new ideas worthy of mention. Many times, I am made aware of the products by seeing them on display at a medical meeting, but sometimes I am contacted by the inventors, manufacturers, or distributors, or by a person who has noticed something new or used it successfully. I think it's important to bring these to your attention, so that you can try them out (if you wish) and form your own opinion.

Celox (hemostatic granules) is a new high performance hemostatic material that has been created to control high-volume arterial bleeding. Composed of a proprietary marine biopolymer (including Chitosan), it is is poured as a granular mixture into a bleeding wound, where it helps to facilitate blood clot formation without causing any tissue damage. It is felt to do this by aggregating negatively-charged red blood cells, which are attracted to the positively-charged granules. According to promotional material distributed by Sam Medical Products, the granules assist a clot to form within minutes without generating any heat, burning sensation, or rigid structure formation within the wound. A gelled mass formed by excess granules protects the clot and is easy to remove.

Chitosan is manufactured by chemical modification of chitin , which is the structural element in the exoskeleton ("external" skeleton) of crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, and so forth). It carries a positive charge, wherein lies its value for this particular application. Chitosan is not known to commonly invoke an allergic reaction, and can be sterilized. Notably, it is present in other products designed to control bleeding from wounds, such as bandages marketed by HemCon Medical Technologies Inc.

Celox™ works in hypothermic conditions and also on blood that has been heparinized (e.g., a person being treated with this category of "blood thinner" or, presumably, with enoxaparin [Lovenox]). There is no mention of whether or not it has been or would be expected to be effective if a victim is currently taking warfarin (Coumadin), which is a very common anticoagulant.

To apply Celox™, one pours the granules from a sterilized, sealed packet (15 grams or 35 grams) into the wound and then holds them in place with a gauze bandage for five minutes. A compression bandage, such as an elasticized wrap, is then wrapped over the gauze-covered wound and the victim is brought to medical care.

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About the Author

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