Medical

Injectable magnetic fluid could halt blood loss

Injectable magnetic fluid coul...
A diagram of the setup, in which a glycerine/water mixture flowing through a flexible tube represents blood flow in a vessel
A diagram of the setup, in which a glycerine/water mixture flowing through a flexible tube represents blood flow in a vessel
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A diagram of the setup, in which a glycerine/water mixture flowing through a flexible tube represents blood flow in a vessel
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A diagram of the setup, in which a glycerine/water mixture flowing through a flexible tube represents blood flow in a vessel

When first responders are tending to accident victims with lacerations, it goes without saying that one of their primary goals is to control the bleeding. It may someday be possible for them to do so more effectively than ever, by injecting patients with a magnetic fluid.

Created by a team at MIT led by Yonatan Tekleab, the liquid contains tiny magnetic particles, and is known as a magnetorheological suspension.

The idea is that that two small but strong magnets get adhered to the skin, on either side of the laceration, after which the suspension is injected into the bloodstream directly upstream from the wound. As the fluid is subsequently carried into the magnetic field between the two magnets, it instantly solidifies as the particles are stopped, greatly reducing or even ceasing the blood flow.

It would be a temporary measure, intended to stabilize patients until they reach the hospital. There, the magnetized blockage would be removed, and the wound would be closed. The system wouldn't work on internal injuries, but it could still definitely save lives.

"Our hope is to extend patients' survival time by at least 30 minutes by conserving blood, so that they are in a more stable condition upon arrival at a trauma center," says Tekleab. "Studies have shown reducing blood loss has a significant impact on survival probability."

The scientists presented their research this Monday at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics 72nd Annual Meeting, in Seattle.

Source: American Physical Society via EurekAlert

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