Medical Device Startup Raising $2M for ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Tourniquets

By: Kevin Cummings, Dallas Innovates • MAY 2022

Compression Works, a medical device company founded by two military veterans, developed its innovative conical-bladder tourniquet for use by U.S. special forces in Iraq and Afghanistan back in 2008. Now it’s expanding the device’s use for EMS teams and fire departments in Dallas and other large U.S. cities, and raising $2 million to help fuel the company’s growth.

A Dallas CEO is taking tech made for the battlefield to help first responders save lives on the home front. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and this is what really spurred the initial activity for our technology,” Dodson told Dallas Innovates. “The tourniquet was really developed out of necessity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan—a technology that would stop the most significant bleeds at the point of injury and allow them to stabilize the patient and get them to a point of definitive care.”

Stopping the bleeding
Unlike traditional tourniquets, which Dodson said work for superficial wounds and those on extremities, Compression Works’ device—called the abdominal and aortic junctional tourniquet-stabilized (AAJT-S)—can be used to stop bleeding on areas like the shoulder, abdomen, and pelvis.
The device can be easily carried by first responders for use in the field. In a five-step process, they position the device, fasten it to a patient, and inflate a conical bladder that inserts itself in the body to stop hemorrhaging. 

Dodson said his company is also exploring potential uses to help stabilize heart attack victims en route to the hospital and to stop postpartum hemorrhage, which he noted is a leading cause of maternal deaths outside the U.S.

“The genius behind our device is that it is also a belt type system that wraps around the patient in five different parts of their anatomy,” Dodson said. “When you put pressure into this bladder, it literally inflates in this cone shape into the body, pressing against the vessels and shutting off the bleeding like turning off a faucet.”

Battlefield origins
Compression Works was co-founded in 2008 by Dr. John Croushorn and Dr. Richard Schwartz so the device could be used by military special forces on the field. Both cofounders are veterans, and they received FDA approval for the device within eight days. At that time, the device was picked up by special operations forces like the Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.

Dodson says that until about two years ago, the company was largely run as a passion project. Then the decision was made to scale the business in an effort led by Dodson, who has experience at large tech firms and numerous venture-backed startups. While the company has historically been based in Alabama, Dodson is based in Dallas and says his company plans to continue its growth from the North Texas region.

“We’ve really been pivoting the company over the last two years, standing up distribution, not only coast to coast in the United States to call on a significant opportunity in the EMS and tactical law enforcement markets, but also in international markets around the world,” Dodson said.

Compression Works seeks to raise $2 million
Since the decision to scale, rather than sell off assets or spin off the technology, Compression Works has expanded its presence and is now used in 18 countries and is adding about five to six new countries per quarter, Dodson said. The company currently works with five regional distributors across the U.S., all focused on the first responder space. The device is currently being used by a number of large fire departments and EMS organizations, including in Dallas, New York City, and the Miami-Dade area.

To help continue its growth trajectory, Compression Works is in the middle of raising a $2 million convertible note, of which Dodson said it has closed about 75%. With the new funding, the company will be bringing on new team members to expand its production capabilities and find new clients in the field.
“We think that the momentum will continue to build on this, given the applicability of this device and the fact that it’s so small and compact,” Dodson said. “It can really drop on to any vehicle or into any medic or paramedic’s go-pack and go along with him to the accident site.”

This article, “Medical Device Startup Raising $2M for ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Tourniquets” was originally featured on Dallas Innovates on May 18, 2022. A collaboration of the Dallas Regional Chamber and Dallas Next, Dallas Innovates is an online news platform covering what’s new + next in Dallas – Fort Worth innovation.

Comprehensive Scientific Study Demonstrates Compression Works AAJT-S Device Useful in Traumatic Cardiac Arrest and Non-Compressible Truncal Hemorrhage Patients

BIRMINGHAM, AL – May 3, 2022 – Compression Works, creators of the Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet-Stabilized (AAJT-S) device, announces the publication of a new trauma review article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, “External Aortic Compression in Noncompressible Truncal Hemorrhage and Traumatic Cardiac Arrest: A Scoping Review.” The study examines aortic compression as it relates to non-compressible truncal hemorrhage and traumatic cardiac arrest subjects.

The Annals of Emergency Medicine study used a meta-analysis format to assess thousands of case-series and peer-reviewed publications and found that the evidence supports the finding that external aortic compression achieves the cesassation of distal blood flow and may improve the physiological parameters in the setting of hypovolemic shock. “The study looked at both manual methods of placing a knee or fist into the abdomen to exert force to achieve aortic compression and it looked at the use of the AAJT-S device to achieve this effect. The AAJT-S device was created to do just this, given that manual compression cannot be maintained easily when trying to move a patient,” said Chief Medical Officer of Compression Works, Inc. Dr. John Croushorn. 

The AAJT-S device by Compression Works is currently FDA cleared to treat non-compressible hemorrhages in the axilla, abdomen and groin region.  The AAJT-S can also stabilize pelvic fractures and has been shown in multiple independent peer-reviewed publications to be equivalent to Zone-3 REBOA. The multi-functional device is currently being used by EMS first responders, the U.S military, allies and in the Ukrainian military in the current conflict in Ukraine to stabilize patients and casualties until they can reach definitive care. 

“We are thrilled with the confirmation in this recent publication and know the Compression Works device can play a major role in the treatment of difficult and often fatal injuries,”  said Dr. John Croushorn.  “As the AAJT-S device is the only device cleared for use on the abdomen as a truncal tourniquet, the physiological benefits of stopping blood flow to the distal extremities is already well established through the data from Zone-3 REBOA (Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta).”

“The Compression Works device has been used effectively and safely to provide external aortic compression. It is completely non-invasive and can be applied at the point of injury by a first responder or medic making it a practical and cost effective solution,” stated Croushorn. “The device can help deliver more stable patients to awaiting trauma teams where they can then decide the best course of action,” further stated Dr. Croushorn.    

“With over 70 scientific studies published about the Compression Works’ life-saving device, the AAJT-S is the most studied device in its class. This latest publication further validates the current uses of the AAJT-S to treat non-compressible truncal hemorrhage as well as potentially impacting a large number of patients who suffer traumatic or sudden cardiac arrest,” said President and CEO of Compession Works Scott Dodson.

Current products and techniques to treat critical bleeding injuries in the field remain limited and the AAJT-S device has demonstrated life saving capabilities in both civilian and military trauma situations. Junctional tourniquets have been on the market for over 10 years and the AAJT-S is the only device to have documented lives saved in upper and lower junctional bleeding

The AAJT-S by Compression Works is made in the United States of America and has thousands of devices in the global market with U.S. special operations forces, allied special operations units and in the pre-hospital EMS segment in the United States and around the world. For more information, visit or contact us at www.compressionworks.com. 

About Compression Works

Compression Works is the developer and manufacturer of the Abdominal Aortic and Junctional Tourniquet-Stabilized (AAJT-S) medical device. The company delivers innovative solutions to meet the most pressing and unmet needs of emergency healthcare providers. Compression Works is committed to hemorrhage control research, identifying capability gaps and developing technologies and products to help facilitate the delivery of quality life-saving care. The solution is used by the military, trauma centers, rural emergency departments, EMS and federal and local law enforcement agencies. The AAJT-S device is proudly manufactured and assembled in the USA. Compression Works is a veteran-owned business dedicated to saving lives on and off the battlefield.