New experimental device would give oxygen intravenously

The human body needs a lot of oxygen – about a cup a minute – just to stay alive.

Schematic of the device geometry illustrating the bubble breaking mechanism. Photo: National Academy of Science of The United States Of America.

If we can’t get the amount we need due to injury or illness, such as Covid-19, our bodies quickly begin to suffer from a lack of oxygen.

After just a few minutes, the abnormally low levels of oxygen in the blood can damage the brain and other organs, and even cause death.

Doctors have machines like ventilators that can help people who are struggling to breathe get enough oxygen, but they have drawbacks and risks.

Now, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a device that can inject oxygen directly into the bloodstream through one way intravenous.

They haven’t tested it on people yet, but a new study describes testing it on rats. If the researchers finally get it to work for people, the approach could prevent severe oxygen loss and lung injury from ventilators, they say.

Although the technology is far from ready to be tested in people, the rat test “is a good proof of conceptsays John Kheir, MD, a physician in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital who directs the work on the new device.

Nowadays, patients who need help to breathe they get oxygen through a nasal cannulaa ventilator, or, in the most severe cases, by ECMO, a machine that draws a person’s blood to pump carbon dioxide and oxygen before putting it back into your body.

While all of these approaches save lives, ventilators can damage lungs if used for a long time, and ECMO has a high risk of infection.

If doctors could put oxygen directly into the blood of a patient through an IVcould reduce the need for other ways of delivering oxygen or make them safer.

In the future, Kheir and his team hope this technology could be a way to give patients the Oxigen enough to keep going. “It gives patients more time and makes them more stable to undergo ECMO,” she says, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes in the best hospitals to more than an hour in others.

How it works: oxygen emulsion

To prepare the Oxigen to be injected into the bloodstream, the researchers placed it in the device along with a liquid containing phospholipids, a type of fat found in cell membranes.

Gas and fluid move through nozzles of decreasing size to create tiny phospholipid-coated oxygen nanobubbles, all smaller than a single red blood cell. The new emulsion, a liquid filled with tiny bubbles, is then injected into the bloodstream.

Phospholipid packing and tiny bubble size are critical to delivering the Oxigen in a safe way.

You can’t just inject oxygen into the bloodstream directly because it will create an air bubble that could block a blood vessel, as happens when divers bend over after returning to the surface too quickly after diving, says Peyman Benharash, MD, a surgeon. cardiac surgeon and director of the adult ECMO program at UCLA.

With this new approach to nanotechnology, “the oxygen balls get trapped in the fat and are slowly released to keep it from flexing,” he says.

The way the new technology works “is very simple, so it could be scalable,” says Benharash.

Fewer than 5% of hospitals have ECMO machines, he says. Something easier to use, like this technology, could deliver vital oxygen to more people in more remote places.

While the therapy is interesting, says Benharash, “it is by no means ready for prime time or for use on patients.” Next, he tells her, he’d like to see how the device works in larger animals over longer periods of time.

As the researchers continue to work on their device, Kheir says, they need to scale it up to provide at least 10 times more oxygen and make it more reliable.

Source consulted here.

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