QuikClot


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As I understand it, this stuff was developed for the military, and then EMT's started using it, and it's now available to the general public. It's essentially a sponge filled with clotting factor (the stuff that makes our blood clot, and that hemophiliacs are missing). If you have a wound with serious bleeding, this stuff will accelerate the clotting process and reduce blood loss.

I keep one in my shop first aid kit, and another in my car.

I've never used it, so I'm not saying that this brand is any better than the other brands out there.

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We carry these on our ambulances, but I have never had need to use one. The information I have though says nothing about having clotting factor. According to the information on the company's web site, they are an absorbent material, either kaolin or zeolite, which are inert absorbent minerals. I haven't researched this in depth but I remember when we got them, there was some comparison made to kitty litter (kaolin can also be an ingredient in some brands of kitty litter).

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The military now uses it only as a very last resort on a wound which will not stop bleeding otherwise. When it was first introduced, we were using it a lot but we have learned of the damage it causes and changed our tactics. We now train to use QuickClot only AFTER a tourniquet (which used to be the last resort). QuickClot is dangerous in the powder (sandy) form if it get's into your eyes or respiratory system. They now have a bandage with the QuickClot added to the bandage to prevent the dust from getting into your eyes or being inhaled, but it will still cause burning at the affected area. QuickClot can cause severe burning from the heat it generates when reacting with the blood (I don't know the exact science, but some sort of chemical reaction.) This will damage the tissue in the offending area making healing and recovery more of a problem. QuickClot is designed in cases like a leg that has been blown off, where nothing else will work and the person will die if the bleeding is not stopped. QuickClot should not be used for 99.99% of the accidents which happen in our shops. Anything short of cutting off your arm at your wrist or higher, you should use another method to control the bleeding.

I just did a bit of searching into how it works, and apparently the absorbent material absorbs the water from the blood, causing the concentration of the "clotting factors."

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Thanks! It's great to get some informed guidance, instead of rumor and sales hype.

I met a guy at a party who was working in bio-engineering and he talked about developing artificial clotting factor for hemophiliacs and emergency wound care. So, I Googled and found QuickClot, and I assumed that that was what the guy was talking about. If anyone knows of a better product, I'd like to know about it.

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I want to say that I've had this stuff used on me before and it works great!

A few years ago, I was slicing something with a mandolin and I guess I was pressing too hard and my finger got a slice taken off. It wouldn't stop bleeding, so after about an hour, I decided to go to the emergency room. They decided that stitches were unnecessary as it wasn't deep, so they poured this powder on my finger. It looked almost like charcoal or gunpowder, but I'm pretty sure it was QuickClot, or something similar to it. They gave me a packaged 'vial' to take home in case I needed it again. It worked great, but it burned and stung when it was on there for awhile. When I say it burned, it REALLY burned to the point where I guess I almost passed out.

It worked out absolutely great, but it burned like something I have never felt before. I'd recommend having some of this stuff around, especially if you're taking blood thinners!

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Do not use QuickClot on finger injuries. As stated previously, it is pretty much only for major trauma where standard hemorrhage control techniques aren't working.

The exothermic nature of QuickClot can damage surrounding tissue, potentially making a replant (reattaching a digit) impossible due to the buggered up vessels.

A better idea for finger injuries is direct pressure (Coban works great), and splinting to eliminate the motion that can disturb fresh clot.

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While on the subject of things not to do in case of finger injuries....

One patient I had cut off a finger with circular saw. His wife promptly but the severed digit in a jar of rubbing alcohol. I removed it and properly packaged it immediately when I arrived, but the damage had been done. No reattachment was even attempted.

The exact procedure to use will vary depending on the source, but in general it is to keep the severed part moist and cool (not frozen). On the ambulance, we usually put the part in a small basin, with gauze under and over, then moisten this well with saline and put in a larger basin filled with ice and water or ice packs, depending on what is available.

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I'm not a big fan of QuikClot and the other clotting agents in a prehospital environment where transport times to an ER are less than an hour. The major problem is anything you put in the wound will have to be cleaned out, if bleeding can be controlled another way, that's preferable. The primary method to control bleeding should be direct pressure. Unless you are on blood thinners or are experiencing arterial bleeding, direct pressure will be effective in most cases. If direct pressure is not effective, the suggested next step in most EMS systems is application of a tourniquet. Tourniquets used to be considered a last resort and were assumed to lead to limb loss below the application site, but studies from the front lines have found that applications of tourniquets for several hours did not cause loss of limb.

With that said woodworkers can do a couple of things. Keep a sterile multi-trauma dressing available, apply to wound site to control bleeding. Figure out how you can do this with one hand, preferably your off-hand. Have a way to contact 911 while keeping pressure on the wound. Do you have a phone in the shop? Does it have 911 on speed dial? Consider stocking a commercially available tourniquet. They are designed to be applied with one hand. Know how and when to use it. If you cut off a digit, and can find it, put it in a bag and have it ready to go to the ER with you. This increases the chance of successful reattachment. Do not put it on ice, but keep it cool and sterile as possible. Prepare for the worst case, and do whatever you can to prevent it.

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I've been thinking more about it and reading through all the other posts. As much as I love "DIY", I think any injury requiring more than apply pressure for a half hour probably requires medical attention. Yes, I used the blood clotter stuff, but the ER did it and I didn't make that decision. The previous poster made a good point about this. What happens if you have to reattach a finger, but you clotted it, which prevents reattachment?

I'm sure we always panic in times of emergencies and sometimes go in shock and make bad decisions. I think it's always good advice to keep 911 on speed dial and know when to use it if you have to. You would hate to do more damage because you didn't go to a medical professional first.

Stay Safe!

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