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Could Carbon Dioxide Replace Antibiotics In Surgery?

Date:
February 12, 2009
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Filling a surgical wound with carbon dioxide gas could reduce infection and improve healing. A wound could continuously be flooded with carbon dioxide gas during surgery. Carbon dioxide could prevent airborne bacteria from reaching the wound and would also suffocate germs. CO2 is already used for this purpose in the food packaging business. Humidified CO2 would also keep the wound warm and moist, which should reduce tissue damage and speed-up healing.

The journal Medical Hypotheses has announced the winner of the 2008 David Horrobin Prize for medical theory.  Written by Mikael Persson and Jan van der Linden from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the article “Intraoperative CO2 insufflation can decrease the risk of surgical site infection” was judged to best embody the spirit of the journal.

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The paper explains that wound infection is a serious surgical complication leading to longer stays in hospital and greater risk of death. Problems include bacterial contamination of the wound, drying of body tissues and heat loss.

The authors suggest that a wound could continuously be flooded with carbon dioxide gas (CO2) during surgery. Carbon dioxide could prevent airborne bacteria from reaching the wound and would also suffocate germs. CO2 is already used for this purpose in the food packaging business. Humidified CO2 would also keep the wound warm and moist, which should reduce tissue damage and speed-up healing.

The authors have already tested their idea in the laboratory, and the next step should be a proper clinical trial in humans.

This year’s prize judge was Sir David Weatherall, Emeritus Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Sir David commented "I chose this because the hypothesis revolves around a very unusual approach to an extremely common and important clinical problem and the authors seem to have gone someway to defining the route to which it could be tested by appropriate clinical trial."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Persson et al. Intraoperative CO2 insufflation can decrease the risk of surgical site infection☆. Medical Hypotheses, 2008; 71 (1): 8 DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2007.12.016

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Could Carbon Dioxide Replace Antibiotics In Surgery?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204085301.htm>.
Elsevier. (2009, February 12). Could Carbon Dioxide Replace Antibiotics In Surgery?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204085301.htm
Elsevier. "Could Carbon Dioxide Replace Antibiotics In Surgery?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204085301.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

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