Oxygen by direct delivery instead of a ventilator – a syringe

(ORDO NEWS) — Many diseases, including Covid-19, can lead to lung damage and a lack of oxygen in the blood, while in some cases, existing blood oxygenation devices are ineffective.

Now doctors may have a new way to administer oxygen to a patient – in the form of tiny bubbles that will go directly into the blood.

In the event of a lack of oxygen in the patient’s blood, doctors have two options. The first is connection to an artificial lung ventilation (ALV) machine.

Such ventilation can occur with the help of a special mask (non-invasive ventilation) or the introduction of an endotracheal tube into the trachea, into which an air mixture is supplied under pressure.

The main problems with the use of mechanical ventilation are an increased risk of developing pneumonia and possible damage to the lungs due to the pressure of the injected air.

The second method is extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) . In this case, the blood is taken from the bloodstream, purified and saturated with oxygen in a special apparatus, after which it is returned to the patient’s body, and donor blood will be required to replenish its volume in the apparatus.

The main disadvantages of ECMO are the constant use of anticoagulants to prevent blood clotting inside the device, a possible allergic reaction to donated blood, and the high cost of the procedure (expensive equipment and highly qualified personnel are required).

Now doctors may have a third way to increase the concentration of oxygen in the blood – by directly introducing it into the bloodstream.

To do this, a mixture was prepared, consisting of gaseous oxygen and a liquid containing phospholipids – complex fats that make up our cell membranes.

The property of phospholipids is their ability to form bubbles, so that when the mixture was passed through a series of nozzles of decreasing diameter, the result was microscopic balls surrounded by a shell of phospholipids and with an oxygen “filling” inside.

Most importantly, the diameter of each bubble was smaller than the diameter of an erythrocyte , the red blood cell responsible for carrying oxygen.

The phospholipid shell prevented the bubbles from sticking to each other, forming large bubbles, and the small diameter prevented clogging of the vessels (which happens, for example, with decompression sickness ).

Once in the blood, the oxygen enclosed in the fatty membrane will gradually diffuse into the surrounding plasma, saturating the tissues of the body.

Oxygen by direct delivery instead of a ventilator a syringe 2
Planned designs of “oxygen balloons”: so far, tests have only been carried out on animals

Scientists conducted experiments with animals and donated human blood: in all cases, the use of new technology led to a significant increase in the concentration of oxygen in the blood.

However, the study is still in its early testing phase, and it may be several years before the technology is introduced into hospitals.

While the researchers are going to test the new method on large animals to collect additional data and improve efficiency.

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