Scientists at the Boston Children's Hospital have invented an injection which can directly deliver oxygen into the bloodstream in patients who are unable to breathe.
John Khier and his team state that this intravenous injection would enable restoration of normal oxygen level in a patient's bloodstream within seconds. Difficulty in breathing occurs in patients due to obstruction in their air-passage or acute lung failure.
If oxygen is not transferred to the blood stream alternately, it could cause brain injury or cardiac arrest. Researchers designed the new injection with small gas-filled micro particles which are administered directly into the bloodstream. This will supply the much needed oxygen to the blood.
The micro-particles are made of a single layer of fat-molecules which surround a tiny pocket of oxygen. These are suspended in a liquid solution and then injected into the patient. In experiments conducted on animals; researchers could keep them alive for almost 15 minutes using the injection without breathing and still avert danger of organ injury or cardiac arrests.
Researchers used a device called 'sonicator' to mix lipids and oxygen using high-intensity sound waves. Oxygen was trapped in tiny particles of the size of two to four micrometers. They made a solution in which oxygen constituted 70 percent which is correct for human blood. Since the gas is packaged into small deformable particles, the surface area for gas exchange gets increased.
This permits oxygen to squeeze through blood capillaries unlike free gas which will get stuck. John kheir explained that micro-particle solution is easy to carry. It can keep patients who are unable to breathe alive till they can be reached to a facility with sophisticated life-saving equipment.
He added that eventually, this solution can be stored in syringes and placed on code-carts in hospitals, ambulances or helicopters in order to stabilize the condition of patients during those critical minutes when they might be unable to breathe. The injection can not be used for more than 15 to 30 minutes lest the fluid overloads the blood.