Scientists have found a way to inject oxygen into the blood intravenously

(ORDO NEWS) — There are many diseases and injuries, including COVID-19, in which the body struggles to get enough oxygen to the lungs to survive.

In severe cases, patients are placed on a ventilator, but these ventilators are often in short supply and can create their own problems, including infections and lung damage.

Perhaps now scientists have found a breakthrough that could significantly affect the use of ventilators.

In addition to traditional mechanical ventilation, there is another method called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), in which blood is expelled outside the body to add oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.

Thanks to the new discovery, oxygen can now be added directly while the patient’s blood can remain in place. For a condition such as refractory hypoxemia, which can be caused by being on a ventilator, having this approach can be life saving.

“If successful, the described technology could help avoid or reduce the incidence of ventilator-related injury caused by refractory hypoxemia,” the researchers write in their new paper.

The new technology works by delivering oxygenated liquid through a series of nozzles that are getting smaller and smaller.

By the time the process is complete, the bubbles are smaller than red blood cells, which means that they can be injected directly into the blood without blocking the blood vessels.

Before being added to the blood, the bubbles are coated with a lipid membrane, which prevents toxicity and keeps the bubbles from sticking together. After the introduction of the solution, the membrane dissolves and oxygen is released.

In experiments with donated human blood, blood oxygen saturation levels could be raised from 15 percent to over 95 percent in just a few minutes. In live rats, this process has increased blood oxygen saturation from 20 percent to 50 percent.

“Importantly, these devices allow us to control the dose of oxygen delivered and the volume of fluid administered, which are critical parameters in the treatment of critically ill patients,” the researchers write.

The researchers stress that this is still a “proof of concept” and has yet to be tested in humans. However, they seem to have found a potentially effective formula given the size of the bubbles and the coating used.

Getting oxygen into the body in this way is a difficult task, as complications can quickly develop if too much or too little oxygen is added, or it is added in the wrong way. The researchers now want to test their technology on larger animals before moving on to human trials.

Although the device in its current form will not be able to completely replace ventilators or ECMO, it is hoped that the new device will be able to better prepare the body for connection to these machines or maintain lung function before the introduction of a ventilator.

“It is worth noting that our device has the potential to be integrated into existing ventilators, allowing it to be easily integrated into existing clinical workflows,” the researchers wrote.


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