DSTL-funded research develops new limb treatment for soldiers

Issue: 2 / 2018

The new technique is a three-stage approach that offers a kit that can be used in the combat field. It also provides highly specialised solutions to patients once they are taken to a care facility. As part of the treatment, a tourniquet is applied to the limb, which applies pressure at different points designed to reduce damage caused to specific areas. Following this, a cooling ‘sock’ is wrapped around the injured tissue to protect it from further damage until the patient is evacuated to a hospital. The limb is placed inside a protective ‘box’ at the hospital, which can sustain the area while doctors try to repair the tissue. Decontaminated air inside the protective box helps reduce infection and supplies the affected area with blood.

The lightweight technology weighs just 5 kg, specifically designed to be deployed on military operations and used by combat medics. Professor Gourlay’s research team also pioneered a blood salvaging technique, which enables the blood lost in surgery to be transfused directly back to the patient. Known as HemoSep, the technique helps reduce the need to use donated blood. A military version of the HemoSep project was funded by DSTL.