WASHINGTON -- A new way to save wounded warriors is coming to the battlefield.
The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a pocket-sized device called the XStat that uses a syringe to inject tiny sponges into deep wounds.
The sponges quickly expand to stem the bleeding in as little as 15 seconds. And thanks to a special coating, they fight infection.
The device is the brainchild of researchers at an Oregon-based company called RevMedX, which has a number of former military medics on its staff.
They used to plug deep gunshot wounds with layers of gauze -- an imprecise method that can be excruciatingly painful for the patient. Using an XStat, they can plug a hole quickly, improving a wounded soldier's chances for survival.
The United States Army provided a $5 million grant to help develop the product, and now that it is cleared by the FDA, it will be put into use as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, RevMedX is exploring other uses for XStat. It already has a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop a special version of the device that could stop postpartum bleeding.
© 2014 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.