In military combat, a traumatic bleeding case such as hemorrhagic shock is deadly, especially in accidental trauma and injuries in law enforcement. Thank goodness, there is a great invention called kaolin-coated gauze, a patch commonly used to treat hemorrhagic shock even at a severe level that often leads to death. The question is, how effective is kaolin to stop bleeding? Find out the answer in this article.

What Kaolin is?

If left untreated, severe bleeding will lead to hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy that can respectively disturb the body’s function in blood clotting and that can be fatal. When the body suffers the lethal triad’s three conditions, the death risk rapidly rises to 90%. Therefore, it is concluded that the bleeding should be terminated to reduce the mortality rate. 

Back in 1984, an American company that runs its business in the medical field, invented a gauze or a patch with zeolite coating. The gauze was then used by the US Army during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as during the 9/11 tragedy. They also conducted several clinical tests to compare between blood clotting methods which resulted in the zeolite-topped gauze being the best.

In 2012, however, the company decided to change the gauze formation. It was saturated with kaolin, a chemical mineral that can speed up the body’s natural ability to clot blood, and there are no exothermic reaction results. One should simply apply the kaolin-coated gauze onto the area of the body exposed to trauma to increase the body’s blood clotting function. The product has now been used not only for military and law enforcement uses but also for hospital and emergency medical uses.

That is kaolin to stop bleeding, but the mineral is more than meets the eye. The layered silicate mineral is also commonly used for other purposes such as oral medicine, ceramics, coated paper, a substance in toothpaste, cosmetics, and food additives. Not to mention that you can also find it as a light diffusing element in white bulbs.

How Effective is Kaolin to Stop Bleeding?

Use of kaolin to stop bleeding illustration

In July 2012, a research concluded that gauze covered in kaolin had 100% effectiveness in stopping hemorrhagic shock by the second application. In the research, the gauze successfully terminated bleeding in severe physical conditions that are usually very risky to death. The result of the study was then published in the Journal of Surgical Research.  

Meanwhile, in the animal study, some researchers from a medical institution discovered that some swine suffering from coagulopathy and acidosis for six to seven hours lost about 35% of their blood volume. The swine also experienced bleeding for two minutes due to an injury of its femoral artery before finally getting treatment with both the combat gauze and the standard gauze. If not treated immediately, this condition would cause the victim hemorrhagic shock, which can be very deadly. 

Only one application of the gauze itself already stopped 89% of the bleeding. The second application was finally able to stop 100% of its bleeding. A standard gauze treatment did not work out on the first application and was only successful once after a second round. 

Between 2014 and 2018, there was also a study on 53 patients undergoing preperitoneal pelvic packing (PPP) as their hemodynamic instability was brought on by pelvic fracture. The patients’ medical records were then collected and analyzed retrospectively by the researchers. There were 21 patients treated with the kaolin-topped gauze and regular surgical bandage, while the other 32 were left with surgical bandage only. 

However, in the research, the mortality rate did not reduce, but at least the blood-clotting gauze could reduce the necessity to get extra blood transfusions in the patients. 


The studies on the magical gauze so far have shown quite a high effectiveness even in subjects experiencing terrible physical conditions for over six hours. Being easy to carry and store, the blood-clotting agent can be a lifesaver for everyone at risk of both traumatic bleeding and hemorrhagic shock, especially if they don’t have access to any medical access soon.

Kaolin to stop bleeding adds up to the importance of the mineral in our daily lives. As mentioned above, the inorganic substance is generally used to make ceramics, in oral medicine (to cure diarrhea), produce coated paper, add to food additives, dental and skincare products, and be a component of light diffuser in bulbs.