March 22, 2022 – The human body needs a lot of oxygen: about one cup per minute, to stay alive.
If we are unable to get the amount we need due to injury or illness (such as COVID-19), our bodies can quickly begin to starve of oxygen.After a few minutes, abnormally low oxygen levels in the blood can damage brain and other organs, and even lead to death.
Now, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a device that delivers oxygen directly into the bloodstream through an IV.They haven’t tested it in people, but new research Tests on mice are described.If researchers finally make it work for people, this approach could prevent severe oxygen loss and lung damage From a ventilator, they said.
While the technology is far from ready for testing in humans, the test with mice “is a good proof of concept,” said John Hale, a physician in the cardiac intensive care unit at Boston Children’s Hospital who led the work. on a new device.
Currently, patients who need help breathing through nasal cannulaventilator, or in the most severe cases, by ECMOA machine that draws a person’s blood, pumps carbon dioxide and oxygen into the body, and sends it back into the body.
While all of these methods can save lives, prolonged use of the ventilator can damage the lungs, and ECMO carries a high risk of infection. If doctors could inject oxygen directly into a patient’s bloodstream through an IV, it might reduce the need for other forms of oxygen delivery, or make them safer.
In the future, Kheir and his team hope the technology could become a way to provide patients with enough oxygen to sustain life. “It gives patients more time to be more stable on ECMO,” he said, which can take 15 minutes at the best hospitals and more than an hour at others.
How It Works: Oxygen Emulsion
To prepare the infusion of oxygen into the blood, the researchers put it into the device along with a liquid containing phospholipids, a type of fat Found in your cell membranes.
This gas The fluid moves through nozzles of reduced size, creating tiny nano-oxygen bubbles coated with phospholipids—all smaller than a single red blood cell. New lotion (a liquid filled with tiny air bubbles) is then injected into the bloodstream.
Phospholipid packaging and tiny-sized air bubbles are essential for safe oxygen delivery.
You can’t put oxygen directly into the blood because it creates an air bubble that can block a blood vessel, like what happens when a diver gets to a curve too quickly after returning to the surface after a dive, says Peyman Benharash, MD, UCLA Cardiac Surgeon and Director of the Adult ECMO Program.
With this new nanotechnology approach, “balloons of oxygen are trapped in fat and released slowly to prevent bending,” he said.
The way the new technology works is “very simple, so it can be scaled,” Benharash said.
Fewer than 5 percent of hospitals have ECMO machines, he said. Something easier to use, like this technology, could potentially bring life-saving oxygen to more people in more remote areas.
While the therapy is intriguing, Benharash said, “it’s not ready for prime time or on patients by any means.” Next, he says, he wants to see how the device works in larger animals body work longer.
As researchers continue to work on their device, they need to scale it up to provide at least 10 times more oxygen and make it more reliable, Kheir said.