A hydrogel made from nanoflakes of synthetic clay and sugar chains extracted from seaweed could act as an injectable bandage to stop internal bleeding on a battlefield, in a surgical suite, or at an accident site.
Commercially available absorbant gauzes or gels prompt blood clotting and quickly stop bleeding when applied with pressure on external wounds. But few products can stop internal bleeding, since applying pressure is impossible when the bleeding is near vital organs.
Akhilesh Gaharwar, a biomedical engineer at Texas A&M University, and his colleagues wanted to make an injectable material that could be used to stop internal bleeding. The researchers created a hydrogel that behaves like toothpaste: it flows like a liquid when squeezed out of a syringe and solidifies once the pressure is removed.
Hemorrhage is a leading cause of death in battlefield wounds, anastomosis hemorrhage and percutaneous intervention. Thus, there is a need for the development of novel bioactive materials to reduce the likelihood of hemorrhagic shock stemming from internal wounds. The research team from Texas A&M developed an injectable hemostat from kappa-carrageenan and two-dimensional (2D) nanosilicates. Nanosilicates mechanically reinforce the hydrogels, provide enhanced physiological stability and accelerate the clotting time by two-fold. The sustained release of entrapped therapeutics due to presence of nanosilicates promotes enhanced wound healing. The multifunctional nanocomposite hydrogels could be used as an injectable hemostat for penetrating injury and percutaneous intervention during surgery.
The full research paper can be downloaded from ScienceDirect, Nanoengineered Injectable Hydrogels for Wound Healing Application.