MUHC introduces innovative device that stops bleeding in minutes

When Gaven Mayo was shot in his upper thigh a little more than six weeks ago, his femoral artery ruptured.

He had lost more than 75 per cent of his blood.

He couldn't lose any more blood because his life depending on it.

To control the bleeding so that Mayo could be stabilized, doctors at the Montreal General Hospital used the new ER-REBOA catheter, which is a quicker, non-invasive way to control internal bleeding.

Dr. Andrew Beckett, trauma surgeon and ICU doctor at the MUHC, and lieutenant-colonel in Royal Canadian Medical Services implemented the use of this new catheter, which he has used on patients out in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although combat wounds are different from everyday wounds, the catheter can help both and save lives by keeping bloodflow going towards the brain.

"You stop all the bleeding downstream s you can get the patient properly resuscitated and brought to the operating room," he said.

He said the only way of controlling heavy bleeding before this catheter was to do more invasive surgery.

"We'd open their chest and clamp the aorta inside the chest with a metal clamp," Dr. Beckett said.

Now it's a matter of placing a small needle in the artery in the groin and advancing the catheter up to stop the bleeding.

This process is much faster than the old method.

"Speed saves lives," Dr. Beckett said. "Getting control of that bleeding earlier is essential."

It was essential for Mayo, who believes he owes his life to the doctors who used the device on him.

"I am extremely thankful and grateful they decided to use the catheter because had they not used it, I am more than sure I wouldn't have survived," Mayo said.

Mayo was one of two people that doctors at the Montreal General used the catheter on and the first in Canada.

Dr. Beckett said this technology is a big win for people in Montreal and Canada, now that the catheter has made its way here.