A Better Bandage for Bad Situations

We just received a sample of a new product that I am not at all eager to test.

It’s a KytoStat Bandage, which is an interesting piece of new medical technology designed to quickly stop bleeding. The pad of the 1″ x 4″ bandage is made from chitosan, which is a naturally occurring compound found in shrimp shells, according to HemCon, the manufacturer. (People with shellfish allergies can use the product, officials said.)

When the bandage is applied to a bleeding wound, the chitosan attracts red blood cells and pulls them into the dressing. Blood makes the pad extremely sticky, and it then seals the wound.

The bandage has several advantages for use in the woodshop, according to a company spokesman. The KytoStat can eliminate trips to the emergency room for those cases where you are not sure if you need to get stitches or not. Also, if the wound is serious, the KytoStat will stop bleeding so you can get to the emergency room without unnecessary blood loss. Also, the bandage is ideal for woodworkers who are taking daily doses of aspirin or blood-thinning medication.

The KytoStat bandage was developed by HemCon after the company had great success with the same technology in a military bandage that is currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The product was approved by the FDA in 2003 and now is carried by every member of the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bandages are available at some Albertsons supermarkets and through drugstore.com. A package of three costs $14.99.

If the product works as advertised, it’s a small price to pay to avoid a trip to the emergency room for typical woodshop cuts. The last time I went to the emergency room for a woodshop injury it was for a cut where I was really on the fence about whether I needed stitches. (For the record, I was sharpening a chisel using a student’s honing guide. The guide failed to hold the chisel, which slipped out and cut my finger.)

In the end, that wound was less than 3/4″ long, but it was difficult to stop the bleeding with simple pressure. Three hours (and three stitches) later, I was back in the shop. My hope is that the KytoStat could prevent drives like this to the urgent care center.

Because we don’t have any volunteers here at the magazine to test the product today, however, I’m afraid you’ll have to just wait for a field test.

– Christopher Schwarz

9 thoughts on “A Better Bandage for Bad Situations

  1. Bill Dalton

    Thanks for the notice on this product I sent this on to my father-in-law as he takes blood thinner. I happen to be a big fan of CA glues and have had to use them in the past to finish what I was doing without leaving my mark. I was taking a class from Alan Lacer a few months ago and a fellow turner had a piece get loose and opened a nasty cut on his lip. A retired MD was in the group and CA’d the injury and it left almost no scar. That being said all the praise for these things, it is still a mistake to not have our serious booboo’s checked I’m from a family who works in the medical profession my father a MD himself reached across his 16" band saw and cut three fingers. Now this guy knows better and has close friends one who is hand surgeon. Did he go get checked? No! 3 days later I called the surgeon and told on Dad. He was called to the office and got a really good lecture. Dad was lucky no tendon damage but there was some nerve damage and this could have been fixed. I guess my point is we are all real "He Men" here and I’m as guilty as the next guy, but use some common sense and even though it costs a few bucks go see your local expert after you get the bleeding under control. Oh, my wife got me some! She a nurse, something about being a real twit with sharpe things, "hey I resemble that statement!
    Bill

  2. Adam Cherubini

    These HemCon bandages aka chest seal, are now in use throughout the GWOT theater. They actually glue themselves to blood.

    What I heard (which was really in conjunction with battle field injuries) is that they must be removed by a doctor. How do you remove these things? Is it like picking a scab off? Do they fall off after the wound clots? I don’t think so.

    I’m thrilled to hear these are commercially available. Last year, one of my friends at Pennsbury Manor hit his thumb with a hatchet. He was alone in the shop and was demonstrating for a gaggle of school kids and had nothing but band aids. Pennsbury is fairly remote (as Penn intended), so an ambulance call may take some time. I went looking for Hemcons then and they were $100 each.

    I think a couple of these and a fresh tube of super glue are smart to have in a wood shop. If I had power tools, I’d also want stuff to put spare parts in (fingers) for the trip to the emergency room. Another friend of mine ravaged his thumb with a chop saw. This stuff happens, and it could happen to me. My hatchets and adzes are as sharp as kitchen knives. I think its the stuff I swing that are going to get me.

    I’m hoping someone can report back on hemcon removal. I think this should be a magazine article, Chris.

    Adam

  3. Tom

    Jeez, I remember slicing a nice meaty chunk off my thumb with a nice sharp spokeshave. Bled like an SOB… I used a quick-clot type product and that made a big difference. Even though it burned like heck…

    It might not hurt to have a bandage like this one handy…

  4. Dave

    Son-of-a-gun. Yesterday I drilled right into the middle of my right forefinger; wish I’d had these then. I am glad, however, that I was using a brand new and really, really sharp drill bit that was only 3/32 in diameter.

  5. Herb Lapp

    Well someone quick go out and buy a case of these for Roy Underhill. Roy has beld on TV not only more than any other woodworker but also more than John Wayne in all his WW II movies.

    Herb

  6. P. Massabie

    Well, I would say keep it near the gloves of you know who, or near the jointer for that matter.

    Regards,

    P. Massabié

    BTW Our WW Magazines are in the mail yet?

  7. Noel

    As some one that both takes blood-thinners and has recently jammed a chisel through his fingertip (the one time Mr. Huey’s gloves would have come in handy!), I wish I’d known about this stuff.

    I elected to not get stitches, and woke up the next morning with a still-bleeding cut. It was vaguely reminiscent of the horse’s head scene in "The Godfather." Screams and all…

    That’s a good post for the future: what’s the essential first-aid for a woodshop.

  8. mark

    One caveat on the cyanoacrylate (J&J) bandages. Cyanoacrylate will seep through tissue to some degree when put on a wound. If you cut yourself on the tip of your finger this isn’t a problem. If you cut yourself on the knuckle (or near any other joint) DO NOT use cyanoacrylate. The glue can seep into the joint and harden there, which will destroy the cartilage in the joint quickly, leading to a nasty case of arthritis for that joint.

    mark

  9. David

    Chris – There is another alternative that, unfortunately, I have tested myself and can vouch for its effectiveness. When using razor sharp tools such as carving gouges and chisels, the wound that results from a slip bleeds profusely and the bleeding is difficult to stop with compression and an ordinary bandage.

    Johnson and Johnson’s Liquid BandAid is a surgical grade of cyanoacrylate glue, and it can be used to completely seal a cut that would otherwise need stitches. In fact, surgeons in some hospitals use the institutional version of this glue to seal surgical incisions in place of stitches.

    The advantage to a woodworker is that there is no bandage to get wet (which often re-opens the wound), and no stuck-on bandage that might pull a scab off when removed.

    Please Note: A deep cut that might have severed internal veins, arteries or nerves REQUIRES a doctor’s examination, regardless of whether he/she decides to use stitches or surgical glue. Also, the "generic" brands of liquid wound sealers is NOT the same compound as the J & J branded material, and they sting like the dickens because they are essentially nail polish. The J&J product is painless, and no, I don’t work for J&J or own any of their stock. 😉

    David in Raleigh

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