Experimental Device Would Give Oxygen by IV
March 22, 2022 – The human body needs a lot of oxygen: about a cup a minute to survive. If we cannot get the amount we need due to an injury or disease such as COVID-19. Our bodies quickly begin to suffer from oxygen starvation. Doctors have machines like ventilators that help people trying to breathe get enough oxygen. But they come with drawbacks and risks. In just a few minutes, abnormally low oxygen levels in the blood can damage the brain and other organs and even lead to death.
Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a device that can deliver oxygen directly into the bloodstream via a drip. They haven’t tested it on humans yet. But new research describes testing on rats. If researchers eventually get it to work in humans. This approach could prevent severe oxygen loss and lung damage from ventilators.
On a new device. While the technology is far from ready for human trials, the rat trials “are a good proof of concept,” says John Hare. MD, a cardiac intensive care physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, leads the work.
Currently, patients who require assistance with breathing receive oxygen through a nasal cannula, a ventilator, or ECMO in the most severe cases. A machine that draws a person’s blood to pump out carbon dioxide and introduce oxygen before reintroducing it. . their body.
Suppose doctors could deliver oxygen directly into a patient’s blood through a drip. It could reduce the need for or make other oxygen delivery methods safer. While these approaches save lives, ventilators can damage the lungs with prolonged use, and ECMO carries a high risk of infection.
Khare and his team hope this technology can give patients enough oxygen to keep them alive in the future. “This gives patients more time and makes them more stable for ECMO,” he says, taking from 15 minutes at top hospitals to over an hour at others.
How it works: oxygen emulsion
To prepare oxygen for injection into the bloodstream, the researchers placed it in a device and a fluid containing phospholipids, a type of fat found in your cell membranes.
Gas and liquid pass through nozzles of decreasing size, creating tiny phospholipid-coated oxygen nanobubbles smaller than a single red blood cell. The new emulsion, a liquid full of tiny bubbles, is injected into the bloodstream.
The phospholipid packaging and tiny bubble size are critical to safe oxygen delivery.
You can’t just inject oxygen directly into the bloodstream because that will create an air bubble that can clog a blood vessel, as happens when divers flex after returning to the surface too quickly after a dive, says Peyman Benharash. MD. cardiac surgeon and director of the adult ECMO program at UCLA.
With this new nanotechnological approach, “oxygen beads are trapped in fat and released slowly to prevent kinks,” he says.
The new technology works “very simply, so it can be scaled up,” says Benharash.
Less than 5% of hospitals have ECMO machines, he says. Something easier to use, like this technology, could potentially offer life-saving oxygen to more people in more remote locations.
Benharash says that while the therapy is attractive, “it’s in no way prime-time or patient-ready.” Then, he says, he would like to see how the device performs on larger animals for more extended periods.
As the researchers continue to work on their device, Hare says they need to scale it up to provide at least 10 times more oxygen and make it more reliable.