Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Injecting life-saving oxygen into a vein

Date:
June 27, 2012
Source:
Children's Hospital Boston
Summary:
Patients unable to breathe because of acute lung failure or an obstructed airway need another way to get oxygen to their blood -- and fast -- to avoid cardiac arrest and brain injury. Medical researchers have designed tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate the blood.

Patients unable to breathe because of acute lung failure or an obstructed airway need another way to get oxygen to their blood -- and fast -- to avoid cardiac arrest and brain injury. A team led by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital has designed tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to quickly oxygenate the blood.

The microparticles consist of a single layer of lipids (fatty molecules) that surround a tiny pocket of oxygen gas, and are delivered in a liquid solution. In a cover article in the June 27 issue of Science Translational Medicine, John Kheir, MD, of the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues report that an infusion of these microparticles into animals with low blood oxygen levels restored blood oxygen saturation to near-normal levels, within seconds.

When the trachea was completely blocked -- a more dangerous "real world" scenario -- the infusion kept the animals alive for 15 minutes without a single breath, and reduced the incidence of cardiac arrest and organ injury.

The microparticle solutions are portable and could stabilize patients in emergency situations, buying time for paramedics, emergency clinicians or intensive care clinicians to more safely place a breathing tube or perform other life-saving therapies, says Kheir.

"This is a short-term oxygen substitute -- a way to safely inject oxygen gas to support patients during a critical few minutes," he says. "Eventually, this could be stored in syringes on every code cart in a hospital, ambulance or transport helicopter to help stabilize patients who are having difficulty breathing."

The microparticles would likely only be administered for a short time, between 15 and 30 minutes, because they are carried in fluid that would overload the blood if used for longer periods, Kheir says.

Kheir also notes that the particles are different from blood substitutes, which carry oxygen but are not useful when the lungs are unable to oxygenate them. Instead, the microparticles are designed for situations in which the lungs are completely incapacitated.

Kheir began investigating the idea of injectable oxygen in 2006, after caring for a little girl who sustained a severe brain injury resulting from a severe pneumonia that caused bleeding into her lungs and severely low oxygen levels. Despite the team's best efforts, she died before they could place her on a heart-lung machine. Frustrated by this, Kheir formed a team to search for another way to deliver oxygen.

"Some of the most convincing experiments were the early ones," he says. "We drew each other's blood, mixed it in a test tube with the microparticles, and watched blue blood turn immediately red, right before our eyes."

Over the years, Kheir and his team have tested various concentrations and sizes of the microparticles to optimize their effectiveness and to make them safe for injection. "The effort was truly multidisciplinary," says Kheir. "It took chemical engineers, particle scientists and medical doctors to get the mix just right."

In the studies reported in the paper, they used a device called a sonicator, which uses high-intensity sound waves to mix the oxygen and lipids together. The process traps oxygen gas inside particles averaging 2 to 4 micrometers in size (not visible without a microscope). The resulting solution, with oxygen gas making up 70 percent of the volume, mixed efficiently with human blood.

"One of the keys to the success of the project was the ability to administer a concentrated amount of oxygen gas in a small amount of liquid," Kheir says. "The suspension carries three to four times the oxygen content of our own red blood cells."

Intravenous administration of oxygen gas was tried in the early 1900s, but these attempts failed to oxygenate the blood and often caused dangerous gas embolisms.

"We have engineered around this problem by packaging the gas into small, deformable particles," Kheir explains. "They dramatically increase the surface area for gas exchange and are able to squeeze through capillaries where free gas would get stuck."

The study was funded by three awards from the Technology Development Fund at Boston Children's Hospital Boston and a U.S. Department of Defense Basic Research Award to Kheir.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital Boston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John N. Kheir, Laurie A. Scharp, Mark A. Borden, Edward J. Swanson, Andrew Loxley, James H. Reese, Katherine J. Black, Luis A. Velazquez, Lindsay M. Thomson, Brian K. Walsh, Kathryn E. Mullen, Dionne A. Graham, Michael W. Lawlor, Carlo Brugnara, David C. Bell, and Francis X. McGowan, Jr. Oxygen Gas–Filled Microparticles Provide Intravenous Oxygen Delivery. Science Translational Medicine, 27 June 2012 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003679

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital Boston. "Injecting life-saving oxygen into a vein." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627142512.htm>.
Children's Hospital Boston. (2012, June 27). Injecting life-saving oxygen into a vein. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627142512.htm
Children's Hospital Boston. "Injecting life-saving oxygen into a vein." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627142512.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins