Intravenous oxygen.

Researchers have developed fast-dissolving particles that may one day prevent organ damage or death by instantly infusing oxygen into the blood.

The microparticles, which consist of spherical shells of lipids surrounding a small bubble of oxygen gas, deliver oxygen almost immediately to red blood cells in a way that is safer and more rapid than currently used methods. The research team, led by Children's Hospital Boston cardiologist John Kheir, found that the solution could completely saturate red blood cells in oxygen-deprived rabbits within seconds of injection, and they kept rabbits with totally blocked airways alive for 15 minutes using the oxygen-infused microparticles. "Essentially as soon as we started injecting it, clinically we started to see an effect,"

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8 Responses:

  1. Ben says:

    Some animal-loving grad student has been spending a significant amount of time crushing the tracheas of fuzzy bunnies and watching them desperately struggle for air. The things we do for science.

  2. nooj says:

    Exciting! This could supersede heart/lung bypass!

  3. gryazi says:

    Previously.

    This is "why do we need a substrate again?" neat, although doesn't exactly make up for massive blood loss if you need existing cells around to recharge.

    Liquid tracheotomy? Maybe also a way to keep peripheral tissue alive after damage impairing circulation.

    • nooj says:

      Between this and hypothermia treatment, our kids could live through shit that would have killed us.

      In the case of heart attacks, it could lead to less heart failure ten years later, because the treatment will have lessened the severity of the heart attack. Seeing as heart failure is the single most important cardiac condition to be solved today, I'm excited!

      Going even further, heart failure is an exceptionally expensive condition. (It's the most common hospital admission (not counting pregnancy).) I predict this will significantly lessen heart failure's huge financial strain on our healthcare system.

      • gryazi says:

        I just got to watch 'heart failure' from the sidelines, sooo... The oxygen trick could be handy for ischemia and/or the important stuff like keeping brains alive. But the actual term applies whenever pumping capacity isn't keeping up with demand, and then the lungs start building up fluid - the "congestive" part is, well, congestion - and the resulting crappy oxygenation is a side effect of the whole 'becomes impossible to breathe' side effect. Which if someone has avoided their hypertension meds for years because they 'feel fine' and 'don't like pills', is maybe treatable with a spritz of nitroglycerin and then a whole bunch of scans to make sure the only problem is that the patient's let BP skyrocket to the point where the heart just can't keep up.

        (This could be an outlier - everyone at the hospital acts shocked when the tests show no serious plaque or clots or other complicating factors - but then they've already had the tests in hand and I gotta figure are happy to a) see something they can actually treat and b) recognize would have been prevented but for patient compliance so make sure to play up the direness. Of course, there's also c) most of the patients who come in like that were already taking their cocktail of anti-hamburger meds and still got screwed, so "Oh, you just need to take the pills we already told you to take so you won't die choking in your own fluids" could be relatively novel.)

        So yeah, under the familial circumstances, standard drugs and a regular oxygen tank while inpatient and waiting for them to kick in did fine. But makes me wonder what % of admissions actually are for [insert relative]-is-just-stubborn - and then it's good to give all the expensive tests to know what the state of the battlefield is - that the patient wouldn't be having if he hadn't shown up in an ambulance with a little crisis at a faciity with all that available to provide the utmost standard of care. [One that was recently written up in a Time article about the 'overuse' of expensive tests - but if I were the doctor on the floor and the stuff is available and insurance is paying for it I'd be an idiot if I didn't use it and just took a guess. Even if evidence says population outcomes in a more frugal system might not be too different (raises the issue of how much of medicine is 'outcome' and how much is 'telling the patient what the fuck is going on so they can make an informed decision?').]

        Kinda a weird perspective from over here. Getting the information that he was ridiculously healthy for a morbidly obese guy except for the uncomplicated BP issue (and the whole mess was probably pushed over the edge by a few months of heart-weakening muscle relaxants after a freak accident the previous year) sure helps compliance. But then you've got all the people who do have atherosclerosis and know it and are still making the informed decision to stick with nothing but Big Macs and Heart Attack Grill.

        [And because this is America, yeah, forced to do a lot of thinking about it to talk him out of an infarction over having to pay his deductible. Which is all he's stuck with, and the worst consumer expense is the extra inpatient days they recommended between we-all-want-to-see-if-you'll-live and nobody-does-stress-tests-on-weekends, but the uninsured guy who turns up in the same condition is probably facing a seven-figure bill after the perverse 'we have to raise the uninsured rates so we can stay in the black giving insurers their mandatory discounted rates' misincentive. Did I mention the day job involves advising people facing collection suits from the same damn hospital - and sometimes the big collection firm accidentally fires off a couple over the same damn bill because, well, who cares, maybe somebody will pay up sometime and it can all be sorted out if anyone actually shows up for court, right? If we're gonna stick with the insurance system - which we have to to not tank the economy by blowing up an entire $billions industry overnight - and we're not gonna cut off this 'discounted rates for insurers' bullshit - then holy shit, let's make like the Swiss and assign people an insurer with the option to switch from the 'you didn't bother to pick your own' default. Because post-mandate, hooboy, I predict we'll get to see a whole bunch of clients paying the tax penalty because "durrrrrrr?" and still getting stuck with the big bills.]

        This turned into a nice rant, still trying to figure out how not to explode from cognitive dissonance. I've been doing the medical-crises thing for like 5 years straight now, can we please get some of that sweet, sweet European mandatory-months-of-vacation love over here?