Luna’s TrueClot™ Blood Simulant will enable more realistic trauma training

Michael J. Danilich, PhD
Director, Biomedical Technologies

Luna’s TrueClot™ Hemostatic Dressing Training Kit

Combat medics, corpsmen and pararescuemen, and indeed all members of the armed forces, must be prepared to treat massive wounds to save lives on the battlefield.  Because of the potential for soldiers to instinctively hesitate or “freeze” in the face of severely bleeding and devastating wounds, the military strives to provide the most realistic training possible.  While the military excels at simulating the sights and sounds of battle, until recently its ability to mimic typical wounds and bleeding patterns left much to be desired. 

In the past several years, however, very realistic mannequins (“high-fidelity human patient simulators”), originally developed for civilian healthcare providers, have been adapted for combat casualty care training.  These next generation trauma mannequins are completely wireless/tetherless and ruggedized, with laptop- or tablet-controlled realistic body motions, bleeding and secretions.  These combat trauma simulators now allow trainees to practice critical invasive procedures such as advanced airway management, needle decompression, placement of chest tubes and defibrillation.

The low died-of-wounds (DOW) rates during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) indicate that mannequin-based and other simulation training is paying off.  Nevertheless, hemorrhage (bleeding) remains the number one cause of death from combat wounds. Unfortunately, blood simulants used for combat and civilian medical training tend to be very unrealistic, amounting to little more than colored water or low-fidelity theatrical stage blood.  Missing are common characteristics of blood including its sticky yet slippery feel, color, opacity, scent and, most importantly, the way that it clots or “cakes,” especially when treated with advanced hemostatic dressings specifically designed to enhance and accelerate blood clotting.

Which is blood and which is TrueClot™ Blood Simulant?

Luna has been developing an advanced blood simulant that bridges the realism gap between colored water and real blood.  The result is TrueClot™, the most realistic blood simulant available today.  TrueClot™ Blood Simulant is a safe, non-biological fluid that has been engineered to have color, opacity and flow characteristics (viscosity) that closely match anti-coagulated human whole blood.  The real innovation of TrueClot™, however, is its ability to quickly form realistic simulated blood clots when used together with our TrueClot™ Simulated Hemostatic Dressing.  (video demonstration) .   We have worked closely with Z-Medica, Inc. the manufacturer of QuickClot™ Combat Gauze, the only hemostatic dressing currently deployed by the military, to ensure that our simulated hemostatic dressing closely mimics the look, feel and response of their product for maximum training effectiveness.

We have also collaborated with KForce Government Solutions, manufacturer of the TraumaF/X®  line of trauma training mannequins, and Operative Experience, Inc., provider of simulation-based training systems for surgery and EMS,  to assess the functionality and realism of our TrueClot™ system in both mannequin and in smaller hemorrhage task trainer platforms. TrueClot™ Blood Simulant washes out of most fabrics with pre-soaking just like real blood and even comes in a scented version that mimics the musty, metallic smell of human blood.

Simulated clot made with TrueClot™ Clot Kit.

As we seek additional collaborative partnerships with trauma mannequin and hemostatic dressing suppliers, we are also developing TrueClot™ Clot Kits that are suitable for moulage training where a pre-made simulated blood clot would be applied to an actor, mannequin or task trainer to simulate a particular basic first aid, trauma, mass casualty or surgical scenario.

TrueClot™ was on display August 12-15 at the Military Health System Research Symposium in Fort Lauderdale FL, and will be exhibited September 8-12 at the EMSWorld EXPO in Las Vegas NV and December 14-17 at the Special Operators Medical Association Assembly in Tampa FL. Please continue to monitor this blog for additional demonstrations.  TrueClot™ Blood Simulant, Hemostatic Dressing Training Kits and Clot Kits are now available for purchase.

This research is supported by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under Contract No. W81XWH-11-C-0062.  The views, opinions and/or comments  contained in this presentation are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense and should not be construed as an official DoD/Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation.  No official endorsement will be made.

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