IDF tests electricity to staunch wounds

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is working on using electric currents to stop bleeding during field triage. In the method, electrodes shoot hundreds of volts to spur clotting. The IDF’s Medical Corps and research administration is conducting joint testing with …

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is working on using electric currents to stop bleeding during field triage. In the method, electrodes shoot hundreds of volts to spur clotting.

The IDF’s Medical Corps and research administration is conducting joint testing with Prof. Ofer Barnea of Tel Aviv University.

Developed by Daniel Palanker, an associate professor at Stanford University, the method was presented at a recent conference in Israel that brought together Israeli Medical Corps researchers with 60 scientists from the US Army.

Various powders and bandages exist to encourage clotting under field conditions, but their efficacy is limited, and the Medical Corps is looking for additional technologies that would facilitate surgery in the battlefield and would stop internal bleeding.

The experiments now underway have developed an electrode that delivers dozens or hundreds of volts of electricity for one micro-second or less, which has been shown to constrict blood vessels.

In preliminary tests, researchers were able to constrict blood vessels in chicken eggs by delivering an electric shock. The constriction led to a clot within a few minutes allowing them to cut into the vessel without causing bleeding.

The IDF estimates that the method will be ready for testing on humans in a few years.

At the conference, the Medical Corps also presented its work on an improved version of the traditional tourniquet; a head injury medication called D-Cycloserine, which is currently approved to improve cognition and to treat tuberculosis; and a method to improve soldiers’ vision by training the brain.