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Fluid derived from aloe plant prolongs life after hemorrhagic shock in animal study

PITTSBURGH, July 26 A novel resuscitation fluid derived from aloe vera that was developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine has the potential to save the lives of patients with massive blood loss, according to results of an animal study published in the August edition of the medical journal Shock. The findings could have a significant impact on the treatment of hemorrhagic shock caused by both civilian and military trauma.

In a rodent model of hemorrhagic shock, animals that were given a very small amount of the fluid, an aloe vera-derived drag reducing polymer (DRP), had significantly longer survival time and increased systemic whole body oxygen consumption, even in the absence of resuscitation with blood or other fluids, compared to animals that did not receive DRP.

"We hope this fluid will offer a viable solution to a significant problem, both on and off the battlefield. Typically, hemorrhagic shock is treated by controlling ongoing bleeding and restoring blood volume by infusing a lactate solution and packed red blood cells. Soldiers wounded in combat often lose significant amounts of blood, and there is no practical way to replace the necessary amount of blood fast enough on the front lines. When this happens, there is inadequate perfusion of the organs which quickly leads to a cascade of life-threatening events," said senior author Mitchell P. Fink, M.D., professor and chair, department of critical care medicine and Watson Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"Medics would need only to carry a small amount of this solution, which could feasibly be administered before the soldier is evacuated to a medical unit or facility," he added.

The central ingredient of Pitt's resuscitation fluid comes from the slick substance inside the leaves of the aloe vera plant. A so-called mucilage, it is rich in polysaccharides and has a high molecula
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