An article in Popular Science caught my husband’s eye a few weeks ago. It was about an FDA approved device designed to treat noncompressible bleeding on the battlefield such as gunshot and shrapnel wounds. But the device could have another use: it could be used to treat postpartum hemorrhage.

Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of death in low-income countries and one of the top three causes of maternal mortality regardless of country’s wealth. The conventional way this is treated is by uterine massage (sometimes necessitating the care provider to put one hand in the vagina and pushing against the fundus from above with the other) and administration of uterotonics such as oxytocin, ergot alkaloids, and prostaglandins.

This new mechanism is called XStat - a syringe like device that is filled with small, quickly expanding, hemostatic soaked sponges. When it is released into a wound cavity, the sponges, each of which contains an x-ray detectable marker, expand to fill the wound cavity within 20 seconds of contact with blood.

XStat is designed to stop blood flow in non-compressible areas, such as the pelvis and shoulder. Surprisingly enough, there are currently no products available to military or civilian responders that are designed to treat non-compressible hemorrhage.

“proven successful in the acute cessation of traumatic non-compressible bleeding analogous to PPH”

Stat is close to being implemented into use on the battlefield. If it is successful, as it seems likely to be, we can hope to see it adapted for first responders and obstetrical use.