Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Injectable Oxygen

Gas-filled microspheres quickly reverse oxygen deprivation

Source: “Oxygen Gas–Filled Microparticles Provide Intravenous Oxygen Delivery”

Air bubble: An intravenous infusion of oxygen-filled microparticles (the yellow sphere in this composite image) could carry the life-sustaining gas to red blood cells.

John Kheir et al.

This story is part of our September/October 2012 Issue
See the rest of the issue
Subscribe

Science Translational Medicine 4(140)

Results: Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital found a way to get oxygen into a body even when the lungs have stopped working: by intravenously injecting gas-filled microparticles. In anesthetized rabbits with blocked windpipes, the microspheres oxygenated the body and prevented major injury to organs for 15 minutes.

Why it matters: Doctors and paramedics may eventually be able to use such injections to keep patients alive until ­longer-term methods can be employed in the hospital. Common emergency measures such as CPR and ventilators don’t work if the lungs are too damaged or the airway is blocked. Heart-lung bypass machines—which oxygenate blood directly, circumventing the lungs—require some time to set up, during which the patient’s organs might be damaged. Ordinarily, if oxygen gas is injected into a patient, it is likely to form bubbles in blood vessels, blocking blood flow. The microspheres prevent such blockages.

Methods: The researchers used sound waves to mix oxygen and fatty molecules called lipids into a foam of oxygen-­containing microspheres. They then selected spheres around two to four micrometers in diameter and diluted them in a solution commonly used in transfusions. The microparticles are small enough to flow through tiny blood vessels that air bubbles could block.

Next Steps: More animal tests will help determine whether the microspheres could help in clinical situations such as cardiac arrest or severe bleeding. The team is also working on making the microspheres more stable, with the ultimate goal of creating an off-the-shelf treatment for emergencies.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.