TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE,Calif.– David Grant USAF Medical Center today announced that research conducted at its Clinical Investigations Facility has found a new application for an old treatment to control severe bleeding. The old method, long used by burn and plastic surgeons, is to inject epinephrine solutions into skin wounds to control bleeding. Trauma surgeons at DGMC have taken this practice to a new level, using epinephrine soaked gauze to control the severe bleeding commonly found in liver injuries.
“Bleeding from liver injuries is a common cause of death in wounded warriors,” stated Maj. (Dr.) Brian Gavitt, 60th Surgical Operations Squadron lead investigator on the project.
Previous studies at the CIF had shown that commercially produced — and expensive — dressings would be used to control severe internal bleeding. However, forward surgical teams are often forced to operate in austere environments with limited resources. “What we needed was a dressing that could be constructed from ingredients that are readily available in every forward operating room,” he added.
Using gauze pads soaked in a diluted epinephrine solution, CIF investigators found this simple method was as effective at controlling severe liver bleeding as the commercial products.
“Our research here has confirmed and provided a simple, yet elegant and cost-effective solution for every operating room, regardless of location or resources,” stated Lt. Col. (Dr.) David Watson, 60th Medical Group director of the CIF. “As a result, patients treated with this process may need fewer blood transfusions, may be evacuated sooner, and may have a better chance at survival,” said Watson.
Studies are continuing at the CIF on this new application for an old treatment.