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#254607 - 12/13/12 04:42 PM Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Ever do that high school science experiment where you mix hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and yeast and get this rapidly expanding foam that overflows whatever container you started with? I think the experiment is often called Elephant's Toothpaste.

Interesting wound care method being developed by DARPA--expanding foam to stop internal bleeding. I read about it here. Blunt force trauma or high velocity penetrating injury can cause massive internal bleeding that you can't just apply pressure to from the outside of the body.

Enter this new foam. Inject two different chemicals into the abdominal cavity that combine to turn into rapdily expanding foam that fills every nook and cranny. It then solidifies and firmly compresses everything from the inside. I assume it doesn't hinder heart function, and sounds like bad news if anyone ever injected it into your lung by mistake, but a fascinating concept.

I can envision a future system for soldiers that has sensors that can detect blast or penetrating injuries and will automatically inject this foam if, say, it detects that the soldier is unconcious or not otherwise being rendered immediate aid. Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but these days, science fiction can become science fact quite quickly.

A civilian version is also reportdely in the works.

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#254617 - 12/13/12 09:53 PM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: Arney]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
Read the article, scant as it was. They seem to already use this stuff to insulate houses, more or less.

What about the heat caused by the chemical reaction? Never mentioned. Not that I am a chemist (oh Blast, help me out here) but wouldn't it cause hyperthermia?

So the foam comes out in a block. But looks like they have to gut you like a fish to get it out. Hey buddy, nice zipper there. Ouch.

Seems to me the foam can't expand too much, but as it is in the wound track it should seal it. Unless of course, the bowel or intestine has a hole in it and the foam just goes in there. C-rat cheese has nothing on this stuff.

I dunno. As to a future system that works automatically - no thank you very much. I would be in constant fear of a malfunction and would disable any automatic feature.

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#254618 - 12/13/12 10:18 PM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: JBMat]
haertig Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2067
Loc: Colorado
I think I will definitely wait a bit, for more research to be done, before trying this out.

When I first read your post here, I couldn't immediatey determine if this new treatment was coming from the medical community, or from the folks that made "Jackass, The Movie". I can envision many Darwin Awards being given out while Bubba and Joe-Bob try to perfect this new treatment. "Hey y'all, watch THIS!"

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#254623 - 12/13/12 10:47 PM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: Arney]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3088
Loc: USA
The idea of having something that a trained responder could use to stop internal bleeding in the field long enough to get the victim to definitive care is pretty awesome. I'm entirely confident that I don't want to be in test group, though.

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#254629 - 12/14/12 12:13 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: chaosmagnet]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6815
Loc: southern Cal
A way to slow internal bleeding could be a very significant advance in emergency field care. i would agree that there are certainly some valid concerns, especially at this stage of development, but, let's face it,if you need this treatment, you are basicaly out of options and internal foam, risky as it might be, is probably preferable to the alternative.

On the bright side, if I am ever treated this way, I might at least finally achieve six pack abs....
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#254632 - 12/14/12 12:56 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: haertig]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: haertig
I can envision many Darwin Awards being given out while Bubba and Joe-Bob try to perfect this new treatment. "Hey y'all, watch THIS!"

Well, by "civilian application," I doubt they are working on creating a version of this foam that anyone can just find at the drug store, like picking up a can of Fix-a-flat at the auto parts store. Highly likely that only first responders would get this if product development ever gets that far.

So I think we're unlikely to see crazy videos of this on YouTube. But never say never when it comes to people's ability to do dumb things. wink

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#254633 - 12/14/12 01:06 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: Arney]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
It's already happened, in a sense:

"Boosting Butts With Cement, Fix-A-Flat, Leads to Arrest"
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/...ent-fix-a-flat/


Edited by Bingley (12/14/12 01:06 AM)

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#254634 - 12/14/12 01:56 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: Bingley]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Sad, but yes, I've seen those reports, which is why Fix-a-flat came to my mind. I mean, people can buy those easily, but probably can't really buy this foam easily, if it ever comes out.

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#254636 - 12/14/12 03:00 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: JBMat]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Quote:
What about the heat caused by the chemical reaction? Never mentioned. Not that I am a chemist (oh Blast, help me out here) but wouldn't it cause hyperthermia?


Interesting process. This stuff is in the same chemical class as "GreatStuff" foam spray. The chemical reaction that forms the finished polymer is exothermic (heat releasing) and in some cases can self-heat up to 200F. I'm assuming the overcome this problem by:
1. picking less exothermic reactant molecules (hundreds to choose from)
2. using the minimum amount of material needed. if expands x30 times, you don't need much to start with.

As for getting it out, based on several different papers I found I think the foam is NOT injected into the abdominal cavity but rather underneath the torso muscles but outside the membrane surrounding the "gut sack". This way it doesn't get intertwined with all the intestines and organs. The hardened block does need to be surgically removed, but that's probably a minor part of the surgery needed to fix the original wound.

-Blast


Edited by Blast (12/14/12 03:01 AM)
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#254640 - 12/14/12 10:46 AM Re: Expanding foam to stop internal bleeding [Re: ]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
Originally Posted By: Blast
I think the foam is NOT injected into the abdominal cavity but rather underneath the torso muscles but outside the membrane surrounding the "gut sack". This way it doesn't get intertwined with all the intestines and organs. The hardened block does need to be surgically removed, but that's probably a minor part of the surgery needed to fix the original wound.

-Blast


I hope it's not injected between the musculature and the fascia. Because a if those materials in your body stretch or tear you could end up with multiple hernias. Granted as you said whatever surgery is required to stop the internal bleeding would possibly be used to repair any hernias, if that does occur in this case.

Although at only 30x's expansion that's possibly within tolerable limits to the tissue.

Don't forget infarcting any small capillary beds. I'm thinking GI system, mainly. And I'm sure the surgeons would absolutely LOVE tracking every little bit of this stuff and scraping it off.

Interesting idea? Absolutely. Hopefully they'll find a way to make it not exothermic, biodegradable, able to hold "enough" pressure but not too much pressure, and storage stable. Tall orders, but hey, that's why those folks got PhD's!

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