Uncontrolled bleeding is the main cause of preventable death in people who experience traumatic injury. This can happen in 5 to 10 minutes if severe blood loss from the injury site isn’t slowed or stopped.
Now, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in New Orleans, Louisiana, have helped develop a nonwoven cotton gauze that quickly stanches bleeding and promotes healing.
ARS chemist Vince Edwards collaborated with H&H Medical Corporation (H&H) of Williamsburg, Virginia, and others to develop a gauze dressing made of raw, unbleached cotton fiber rather than the processed cotton typically used.
Since the fiber isn’t scoured and bleached, the lipids, waxes and pectin in the fiber’s outer “cuticle” remain intact. That’s a good thing, because Edwards identified the cuticle’s role in stimulating the body’s production of blood-clotting agents.
Studies with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) assessed the clotting properties of fabric made from the fiber. When made into a gauze used to wrap or pack wounds, the fiber performed as well as standard dressing gauze.
Another plus: the new cotton gauze releases small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, thought to help mobilize wound-healing cells at the injury site. During the trials, the nonwoven cotton gauze also triggered blood-clotting more quickly than the bleached cotton gauzes and shed fewer fibers, which can mean less lint ending up in wounds.
Edwards credits T.J. Beall Company’s proprietary fiber-cleaning technology with preserving the clot-promoting properties of the cotton. T.J. Beall also collaborated with ARS in forming the cotton into a pliable, nonwoven gauze using a procedure called spun lacing, which entangles the fibers.
These advances led to a new product known as TACgauze, recently released by H&H. The sterile gauze is lighter and more absorbent than standard gauzes and can be used in a range of circumstances, whether on the battlefield, accident scenes, mass-casualty events or remote locations.
TACgauze is made exclusively from cotton that’s grown, processed and packaged in the United States—a condition of sale to Federal clients like the U.S. military.
The U.S. Marine Corps and other civilian sector companies are interested in evaluating TACgauze, says H&H President Paul Harder.