A multi-faceted device is effective for treating deep, noncompressible, and irregularly shaped wounds. The device provides rapid hemorrhage management, has minimal inflammatory effects, and provides infection control. It also has tunable biodegradation rates, making it usable for both internal and external use and features sensing capabilities for long-term hemorrhage monitoring. The device is highly beneficial for timely alerts and control of bleeding from surgical wounds, traumatic injuries, and critical illnesses.
The team turned to silk fibroin, a protein produced by the Bombyx mori silkworm. Silk fibroin is a biodegradable material with optimum anti-inflammatory and mechanical properties and can be engineered into porous, highly absorbent memory-shaped sponges. These sponges can also promote coagulation and tissue regeneration. The tunable degradation rates of the sponges allow longer-term use in the body as well as the possibility of integration with sensors that can monitor bleeding over time.
The device consists of two silver nanowire layers positioned above and below a hemostatic sponge layer. The nanowires function as hemorrhage detection sensors as well as antibacterial agents. The device also includes a nanowire-based capacitive sensor for bleeding detection. During bleeding, the sponge absorbs the blood, which increases its capacitance without affecting its shape. The device selectively monitors blood absorption against other bodily fluids it might encounter in the wound. (Image credit: Terasaki Institute)
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