Researchers from Mayo clinic study that a potato-based powder holds potential for the treatment of everything from minor cuts to surgical incisions, and may even combat injuries. Hemostat, a blood-clotting agent,produces immediate coagulation at the surface of a wound, followed by the normal blood-clotting processes. The powder-based coagulant may one day help anesthesiologists limit bleeding during surgeries. As a result, they can limit the transfusion of banked blood products and better avoid complications associated with blood transfusions. The FDA approved the hemostat late last year.
The hemostat acts as an ultra-efficient, dehydrating "sponge" when applied to the bleeding source. It is applied as a fine topical powder through a small, bellows-like reservoir called a puffer. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found the coagulant with applied pressure produced instantaneous hemostasis, or blood clotting, of small forearm incisions in 70 percent of incisions. Participants in the control group had a median bleeding time of six minutes for incisions when researchers applied pressure alone.
The potato-based hemostat also offers an alternative to collagen-based and other animal-derived hemostats, which can cause mild to severe allergic reactions in some patients. Mark H. Ereth, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic, says, "Of the many topical hemostats developed over the past 40 years, none has had as small a side effect profile as this one. At a cost much less than other coagulants, the agent appears to be economical as well."