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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2009 Jul;90(1):45-54. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.31251.

A keratin biomaterial gel hemostat derived from human hair: evaluation in a rabbit model of lethal liver injury.

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  • 1Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.


Effective hemostatic dressings that are compatible with tissues are needed. Keratins are a class of biomaterials that can be derived by extraction of proteins from human hair. We have recently discovered that keratin biomaterials have hemostatic characteristics and hypothesize that a keratin hydrogel having the ability to absorb fluid and bind cells may be an effective hemostat. The goal of this study was to test a keratin hydrogel and evaluate it compared to current hemostats. Thirty-two New Zealand white rabbits received a lethal liver injury. Eight animals each were assigned to negative control, QuickClot, HemCon bandage, and keratin treatment groups. Vital stats and other data were recorded during surgery and all surviving animals were sacrificed after 72 h. Histology was conducted on all surviving animals. Twenty-four-hour survival rates were 0%, 62.5%, 62.5%, and 75% for the negative control, QuickClot, HemCon, and keratin groups, respectively. Other outcomes included blood loss, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, shock index, and liver histology. All of the hemostats were statistically better than the negative control group at late operative time points. The keratin group consistently performed as well as, or better than, the commercial hemostats. Histology showed an interesting healing response at the hemostat-liver interface in the keratin group.

(c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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