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IV Oxygen

July 10, 2012

When people stop breathing, they need oxygen fast. New technology could make it possible to get it to them – by bypassing the lungs.



Injectable oxygen…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our cells need oxygen to carry out basic functions. But when patients can’t breathe, emergency personnel have few options for getting them the oxygen they need before vital organs shut down. Oxygen isn’t just in the air we breathe, however, and researchers are now testing a novel way to get oxygen to patients fast – through their veins. Boston Children’s Hospital translational scientist John Kheir says that rodents can normally only survive for 5 to 10 minutes without oxygen. But this wasn’t the case when he and his colleagues injected tiny microbubbles filled with oxygen into their veins.

JOHN KHEIR (Boston Children’s Hospital):

When we treated them with the drug that we have created, those animals survived for 15 minutes, reasonably intact.


Kheir says the new technology could one day keep patients who have stopped breathing alive long enough for emergency personnel to revive them. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

When patients stop breathing, emergency personnel need to buy them time. (Jupiter Images)