FDA Approves Device That Can Seal a Gunshot Wound in 20 Seconds

It seems to be on everyone’s minds these days: Would you or a loved one survive a public shooting like in Paris and San Bernadino, or an attack like the Boston Marathon bombings? It’s a legitimate worry, and from bullet-proof backpacks to a “Bodyguard Blanket” that can cover your kids in a school shooting, companies are cashing in on these protective devices.

Now the FDA has taken that protection one step further and approved the public sale of XStat, a device that can plug a life-threatening wound in 20 seconds.

The pocket-sized device was originally approved for use on the battlefield back in April 2014, and it was critical to saving lives because the number one cause of death isn’t from being blown up, it’s from bleeding to death before the injured soldier can receive medical help. But when used properly, XStat can stop the bleeding for up to four hours, which gives you a fighting change of getting to a hospital for emergency care.

The video above offers a digital demonstration of how the device works, but it’s pretty simple. A syringe-like tube contains 92 compressed sponges coated with absorbent and antimicrobial materials. According to Tech Insider, these sponges are made from wood pulp, “a plant-based material that won’t dissolve into the body, and [they] are coated with chitosan, a material that promotes blood-clotting and is resistant to bacterial infection.” These sponges also show up on an X-ray, which means the surgeons can find and remove them.

Now that XStat is approved for use in the general population, it could be a game-changer for life-threatening situations at home. Up to 40% of civilian deaths from a severe trauma are caused by bleeding to death. And of those deaths, between 33% and 56% happen before a patient even gets to a hospital, the FDA reports.

“When a product is developed for use in the battlefield, it is generally intended to work in a worst-case scenario where advanced care might not be immediately available,” William Maisel, director of the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation said in a press release. “It is exciting to see this technology transition to help civilian first responders control some severe, life-threatening bleeding while on the trauma scene.”

There’s no word at the moment if this will be available to the general public through regular stores, or if it will only be sold to first responders and medical professionals.