How leeches can help save lives?

This sounds so unbelievable, isn’t it? Many flinch when they even hear of leeches and would be more startled even if they get stuck to the skin and imagining it as part of their treatment is just shocking. Yet this is what is happening in the operation theatre across many countries. But why leeches,only?

Since bloodletting was a prevalent procedure in ancient Greece and Egypt, leeches have been employed therapeutically for thousands of years. At the time, medical professionals thought that drawing blood from a patient might both treat and prevent disease. Leeches were used more frequently than crude devices for bloodletting. The leeches would begin to feed on blood once they were affixed to the patient’s skin. Clearly, contemporary medical professionals oppose the practice of bleeding. However, many people do think that using leeches in some very specialised medical circumstances help saving lives and limbs.

Hirudin, an anticoagulant and antiplatelet drug that serves to prevent blood clots and lessen the quantity of blood clogged in tissues, is found in leech saliva. Even when the leech is removed, other compounds in its saliva keep the wounded area’s circulation flowing, giving time for new veins to develop and current ones to enlarge to carry more blood. In addition, the procedure is painless because when a leech bites, a naturally produced anaesthetic numbs the region.

However,in leech farms around the nation, leeches are raised with the intention of being used medicinally. Before attaching to the patient, they are cleaned, and they are always used once. They are sedated and discarded as medical trash after they have eaten and pruned off the patient.