Monday, July 22, 2013

New Ideas in Medicine

So, I'm an idea person. Third generation. This is my idea blog. Albeit neglected. The ideas are in my head. But quietly sitting down long enough to write them down...that's my challenge.

One of my jobs is in Maternal Fetal Medicine research. The other day as I was working on a new study about preterm babies, and I had the coolest idea! [insert lightbulb here].

Backgroud: The biggest problem with preterm babies are their undeveloped lungs. We give steroids to promote lung development, so the preemies can hopefully oxygenate themselves.

Idea: What if we could bypass the lungs altogether and intravenously administering hyper-oxygenated fluids to increase the blood's O2 saturation? A perfluorocarbon emulsion would be an ideal fluid, not to use as a blood replacement to deliver oxygen to tissues, but to bring oxygen to the blood in circulation. As long as it had a lesser affinity for hemoglobin than oxygen, the O2 would naturally diffuse into red blood cells within the antecubital or superior vena cava...just as it does in the lungs.

Forget all this nonsense about breathing liquid oxygen through the lungs! IV oxygen is no fuss, no muss because it doesn't require invasive solutions for CO2 removal. Since the impetus to breath comes from CO2 excess (and your lungs are not full of a foreign substance) you are free to blow off the CO2 naturally! Ventilation of air still occurs to prevent pneumonia.

This incredibly simple solution could have a huge impact on respiratory therapy, perhaps even supplanting the use of costly ventilators. It could also have various applications in areas such as scuba diving and space exploration.

Great idea, huh?

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