MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may be surprised to know what’s the number one cause of death in people younger than 40.
It’s traumatic brain injury, and it can be caused by a car accident, a fall or a hit to the head.
But now a Minnesota hospital is trying out a new tool that could save lives.
Tranexamic Acid, or TXA, is already being used by the Department of Defense to treat some of the bloodiest injuries on the battlefield.
The FDA-approved medication controls bleeding in the body.
Now Regions Hospital wants to see if it can also stop bleeding in the brain.
“As a Level One Trauma Center, we see a lot of patients who suffer head injuries,” said Dr. Aaron Burnett.
Every year, Regions receives 200 patients suffering from traumatic brain injury.
It’s a difficult injury to treat, and for 25 years there have been no advances in medication. Now the hospital is one of a handful around the country that will begin testing TXA on brain injury patients.
“Right now, the only way to stop bleeding in the brain is to take the patient in the operating room, remove part of the skull and clamp the bleeder,” Burnett said. “We’re hoping this medication will give our paramedics a chance to stop that bleeding without even having to go to the operating room.”
Doctors say what’s groundbreaking about TXA is that it can be administered right away by paramedics.
“There’s no way for us to do bleeding control with pressure like we would for an external wound,” said Matt Simpson, of the St. Paul Fire Department. “This medication is supposed to do that for us.”
Doctors believe that head start will be crucial.
“We’re fortunate to be conducting this in Minnesota, because our patients will hopefully be some of the first to benefit from this new treatment,” Burnett said.
Regions is the only hospital in Minnesota participating in the study. Data from 60 patients here will be collected over a 14-month period starting this September.