Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital were able to design tiny, gas-filled microparticles that can be injected directly into the bloodstream to oxygenate blood. These microparticles are reportedly made up of a single layer of lipids or fatty molecules that surround a tiny pocket of oxygen gas and are immersed in a liquid solution. According to Dr. John Kheir of the Department of Cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, when these microparticles were infused into animals that have low blood oxygen levels, the blood oxygen saturated to almost normal in a matter of seconds. Other tests revealed that when the microparticles were infused into animals with blocked trachea or windpipe, it reportedly kept the animals alive for 15 minutes without breathing.
Other results showed that the microparticles reduced the occurrence of cardiac arrest and organ injury to the animals. Dr. Kheir explains that the microparticles will most likely be administered only for 15 and 30 minutes because it can overload the blood if used longer. He also noted that the particles are different from blood substitutes, and that it is designed for cases where in a person’s lung is rendered incapacitated. Researchers are hoping that the microparticle will be used someday in emergency situations where in paramedics will need more time to safely place a breathing tube or perform other life-saving therapies on patients.