LONDON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Scientists in Britain have developed a pioneering treatment able to save limbs on the battlefield, the government's Defense Science and Technology Laborator (Dstl) announced Tuesday.
Dstl, part of the Ministry of Defense has funded the new innovative technique, developed at the University of Strathclyde, for treating limb injuries British troops
Biomedical engineers at the Scottish university are pioneering the technique for treating injured limbs which could reduce amputations after battlefield injuries.
Dstl said it has been created in response to experiences in the conflict zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, where improvised explosive devices caused traumatic injury
The three-stage approach brings together kit that can be used in the field, with highly specialized solutions once the patient is evacuated to a hospital.
A novel tourniquet is applied to a bomb-injured limb, which applies pressure at different points, reducing pressure and damage to specific areas. A cooling "sock" is then wrapped around the tissue, to preserve it from further damage until the wounded soldier can be evacuated to a care facility.
Once at hospital, the limb is placed inside a protective "box", which can sustain the area while doctors attempt repairs. The box has specially decontaminated air to reduce infection, and continually supplies the affected area with blood.
Weighing only five kilograms, the technology is specially designed for deployment on operations, and used by combat medics. The system could also be used in a non-military setting, for example natural disasters or remote locations, added Dstl.
Following successful trials, the system is set to be available commercially, and could one day form part of the medical kit in every frontline unit.
Dr. Neal Smith from Dstl said: "It is a hugely important innovation that could save the limbs of many more of those affected. It's a fantastic example of where we work with academics to fund life-changing research which has been turned into a product to improve the quality of life of those injured in service.
Professor Terry Gourlay, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Strathclyde University, said: "The system we have developed is essentially a life-support system for the limb which gives doctors precious time to attempt to repair damage while ensuring the safety of the patient."
Gourlay's team also pioneered a blood salvaging technique which allows blood lost in surgery to be transfused directly back to the patient, reducing the need to donated blood.