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Published on June 28th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson

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Medical Breakthrough: Doctors Inject Oxygen In The Bloodstream of Patients Unable To Breathe





There is no denying it, this is a medical breakthrough with what could be momentous implications in medicine.

Doctors at the Children’s Hospital Boston in Massachusetts have managed to keep suffocating rabbits alive for almost 15 minutes by injecting oxygen-filled microparticles into the bloodstream. The implications of this breakthrough could mean the prevention of millions of deaths each year that are caused by things like heart attacks and choking.

While there are procedures that do the same thing, liquid oxygen, this new technique doesn’t have to be done under extremely, and dangerous, low temperatures. Developed by John Kheir and his team at CHB this new method utilizes microcapsules that can be injected directly into the bloodstream. It is these particles that contain a small bubble of oxygen, and being encapsulated in this fashion means they can’t form larger bubbles.

Then once in the bloodstream the oxygen is diffused into the red blood cells  within seconds and so by the time the microparticles reach the lungs the majority of the oxygen has transferred to the cells

A primary advantage of the technique is the speed at which it starts to works. This bodes well for people who may be choking or who are in surgery and are in need of a quick oxygen fix. Kheir and his team speculate that the method may allow subjects to be kept alive for as much as 30 minutes, but that it probably can’t be pushed much longer than that. The procedure is not intended to replace the lungs, merely their function for a limited period of time.

via io9

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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).



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