HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Fire Rescue is participating in a new pilot program with South Carolina DHEC benefitting trauma patients.
Tranexamic acid, also known as TXA, is the pre-hospital treatment officials are testing.
The medication helps stop a trauma patient from excessive internal bleeding. It can prevent bleeding into the brain by suppressing blood clot breakdown.
Proper treatment for trauma patients begins in a pre-hospital environment. In many cases, treatment is necessary before or inside an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Horry County Fire Rescue officials say they respond to an average of 60,000 calls each year. Typically, 50% of those are trauma situations.
The large call volume continuing to expand each year, HCFR officials say, is one reason SCDHEC chose the county to research this medication and track data.
“Ultimately, we need to see numbers. We want to make sure that it is safe in the pre-hospital setting,” HCFR Horry County Fire Rescue Medical Trainer, Cpt. Steve Sampollo said.
Paramedics can turn to the medication when a patient’s internal bleeding is too excessive to apply direct pressure.
In some cases, the pilot drug could stop a patient from bleeding to death, saving thousands of lives each year.
Trauma is among the leading causes of death for patients under 45 years old, and it’s the fourth-leading cause of death for all ages.
A paramedic would inject a specific dosage while in the emergency vehicle before arriving at the hospital.
“I believe that if this pilot goes well, I think this would be on all of our ambulances, and it would be something that we would use often. It proves that it’s very safe, and the pilot wants to know if the risks vs. the rewards,” Cpt. Steve Sampollo said.
Medical experts say the drug itself is safe. The pilot program is looking for data to prove if it’s more beneficial to give a patient the medication before arriving at the hospital.
Horry County was one of the few counties in the state permitted to administer the medication in a pre-hospital setting.
The CDC has reported more than 140,000 patients to die each year from traumatic injuries.
Horry County Fire Rescue Cpt. Campolo says as long as the patient recieves the medication within three hours of the injury, it can make a big difference.