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Injectable Oxygen Could Help Trauma Patients with Breathing Problems

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

    Mar 21, 2011
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    During trauma surgery, patients occasionally lose the ability to breathe because either their lungs have failed or their airway has become obstructed. Doctors have to hurry to restore breathing least the patient suffer heart failure and brain injury.

    Science Daily recently reported that researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have developed a way to literally inject oxygen directly into the blood stream. They do this by taking particles of lipids (fatty molecules) and using them to surround a small amount of oxygen gas. The particles are suspended in a solution and are then injected into the blood stream. The oxygen is released into the blood stream and the lipids are eventually absorbed into the body of the patient. The lungs are therefore effectively bypassed.

    The researchers achieved good results in animal studies in which oxygen poor subjects had their blood restored with a quick injection of the solution. The process, used on rabbits according to Nature, occurred within seconds.

    The procedure would allow a patient to survive without organ damage or cardiac arrest for as long as 15 minutes without having to breathe. This would give trauma doctors and EMTs much needed time to restore breathing by inserting a tube properly or by getting the lungs started again. Thus more trauma patients will survive without complications than hitherto has been the case.

    However it is likely that the procedure could only be done once, as otherwise the blood stream would become overloaded with the solution. One of the researchers suggested that the technique could be stretched to about 30 minutes, but anything beyond that would be unwise.

    The researchers envision that preloaded syringes with the oxygen solution will be present on every crash cart in a trauma unit, ambulance, or helicopter as a tool to help stabilize patients who have developed breathing problems. It would become as common as a heart defibrillator as a tool to keep patients alive during those first crucial moments after being attended by EMTs or reaching a trauma center.

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