What is a pressure bandage?
A pressure bandage is a type of bandage used to stop excessive bleeding.
The advantage is that the pressure acts selectively on one point and therefore does not hinder the entire blood supply or drainage. On the other hand, if you were to put on a normal, tightly bound bandage, the entire body part would be constricted.
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Reasons for a pressure bandage
Pressure bandages are used on different parts of the body in different situations. What they all have in common, however, is the goal of stopping excessive bleeding.
The average adult has an average amount of blood in the body of 5 to 6 liters, depending on age, weight and height. Even a liter of blood loss can be life-threatening. It is therefore imperative that bleeding be stopped, even if it may result in other risks such as infections.
The pressure bandage is often used in first aid, for example to stop bleeding from deeper cuts. In principle, a pressure bandage can be applied anywhere (arms, legs, torso), but never on the neck. This would restrict breathing and blood flow to the brain.
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Another area of application of the pressure bandage is the application after a cardiac catheter examination. Here, a medical examination of the heart is carried out via an access to a vessel in the groin, the wrist or the bend of the elbow. This is used for the diagnosis and therapy of various diseases, especially of the coronary arteries or the heart valves. The application of a pressure bandage is indispensable after this procedure.
How do you apply a pressure bandage?
Before applying the pressure bandage, the affected part of the body should be elevated so that the blood flow is reduced.
If you have a wound on your arm, you can use your fingers to squeeze the artery on the inner upper arm between the triceps and biceps. It is easier if another person or the injured person does it himself so that the first aider has both hands available for the pressure bandage.
Before the bandage is wrapped, a sterile wound covering, e.g. put a compress on the wound and cover it with a sturdy object that cannot soak up the blood. An unopened gauze bandage is ideal for this.
This is now fixed with another gauze bandage with pressure and so strongly that the bleeding stops.
The injured part of the body should remain elevated even after the bandage has been applied.
If the wound is on the trunk, you can try to apply a pressure bandage as just explained. If this is not possible, the pressure must be applied by hand.
How long should a pressure bandage be left on?
How long a pressure bandage is left on depends on the cause.
In first aid, the pressure bandage is left in place until the injured person is under (emergency) medical treatment. However, it should be observed whether there are any signs of insufficient blood flow to the extremities (white fingers or toes, numbness, etc.). Then the bandage may have to be loosened a little. The doctor then has to decide how to proceed. In many cases, the wound has to be treated surgically, for example.
Pressure bandages after a cardiac catheter examination are left in the groin for 24 hours and on the wrist for 12 hours. However, the removal of these pressure bandages only takes place under the supervision and implementation of medical specialists.
Pressure bandage in the groin after a cardiac catheter examination
As already mentioned, a pressure bandage is also used after the cardiac catheter examination. This examination is primarily used for the diagnosis and therapy of diseases of the heart and its vessels.
Following the examination, the puncture site must be supplied with a pressure bandage, as the vessels are larger and otherwise there will be heavy bleeding.
This procedure can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis, i.e. the patient can go home after the procedure. However, this is only possible if the pressure bandage on the wrist has been removed by a medical professional after 12 hours and in the groin after 24 hours and there has been no secondary bleeding.
Pressure bandage on the fingertip
In principle, no pressure bandages should be applied in terminal areas such as fingers, toes, nose or penis. However, if there is a heavily bleeding wound on the finger or fingertip, a fingertip bandage is often sufficient. To do this, cut a wedge out of a large plaster in the middle on both sides. Then stick one half over the uninjured side of the finger and fold the other half over the fingertip. Then the adhesive surfaces are turned over.
Can I also buy a pressure bandage?
A finished pressure bandage cannot be bought as such. All that you ultimately need are gauze bandages, sterile compresses and possibly adhesive strips. These components can be bought individually or as a dressing set.
It is important for a pressure bandage that the gauze bandages are packed individually, since the gauze bandage, which serves as a pressure pad, should be absorbent and packed accordingly.
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