Thermoresponsive shear-thinning hydrogel (T-STH) hemostats for minimally invasive treatment of external hemorrhages†
Hemorrhage is the leading cause of death following battlefield injuries. Although several hemostats are commercially available, they do not meet all the necessary requirements to stop bleeding in combat injuries. Here, we engineer thermoresponsive shear-thinning hydrogels (T-STH) composed of a thermoresponsive polymer, poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (p(NIPAM)), and hemostatic silicate nanodisks, LAPONITE®, as minimally invasive injectable hemostatic agents. Our T-STH is a physiologically stable hydrogel that can be easily injected through a syringe and needle and exhibits rapid mechanical recovery. Additionally, it demonstrates temperature-dependent blood coagulation owing to the phase transition of p(NIPAM). It decreases in vitro blood clotting times over 50% at physiological temperatures compared to room temperature. Furthermore, it significantly prevents blood loss in an ex vivo bleeding model at different blood flow rates (1 mL min−1 and 5 mL min−1) by forming a wound plug. More importantly, our T-STH is comparable to a commercially available hemostat, Floseal, in terms of blood loss and blood clotting time in an in vivo rat liver bleeding model. Furthermore, once the hemorrhage is stabilized, our T-STH can be easily removed using a cold saline wash without any rebleeding or leaving any residues. Taken together, our T-STH can be used as a first aid hemostat to treat external hemorrhages in emergency situations.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials Science 10th Anniversary Collection