BACKGROUND: QuikClot powder (QC), chitosan dressing (CD), and fibrin sealant dressing (FSD) are new hemostatic products touted to be more effective in controlling severe extremity bleeding than the current standard gauze dressing. All have been utilized in the global war on terrorism. Our objective was to evaluate the hemostatic efficacy of these three products in a model of severe extremity arterial hemorrhage that could not be stopped by standard gauze treatment. METHODS: A model of severe extremity arterial hemorrhage was developed in swine that was 100% fatal with standard gauze application and manual compression. The Army Field Bandage (AFB) was the standard gauze control. Anesthetized animals (n = 60, 15/group, 37.7 +/- 2.5 kg) were splenectomized and instrumented. A reproducible femoral artery injury was created using a 6 mm aortic punch, and free bleeding was allowed for 45 seconds. Each hemostatic agent was applied twice with three-minute compressions. All products were applied on actively bleeding wounds through a pool of blood. Fluid resuscitation was started with the first compression and titrated to a mean pressure of 65 mm Hg. Animals were observed for 180 minutes or until death. Endpoints were percent survival, survival time, blood loss, resuscitation volume, wound temperatures and tissue histology. Data are expressed as mean +/- SD and analyzed by Fisher's exact, logrank, and nonparametric ANOVA tests. RESULTS: Baseline physiologic parameters were similar among groups. AFB did not produce hemostasis. QC also showed no hemostatic benefit, and QC treatment markedly increased maximum wound temperatures to an average of 70.8 +/- 4.2 degrees C (p < 0.001). CD stopped bleeding temporarily in only one animal. There were no survivors in the AFB, QC, or CD groups. CD numerically prolonged survival time (58.9 +/- 21.1 minute) compared with the control (38.4 +/- 24.7 minutes, p = 0.045) but the difference was not significant. FSD reduced bleeding (p < 0.05) and prevented exsanguination in 10/15 (2/3) animals, and resulted in a significantly longer average survival time (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: FSD was superior to other currently utilized hemostatic products in controlling lethal arterial hemorrhage in this model of a fatal extremity wound. CD showed some hemostatic benefit. The exothermic reaction of QC was significant and resulted in gross and histologic tissue changes of unknown clinical significance. Controlled human studies with the promising products are required.
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