Liquid breathing moves a step closer thanks to measurement study

March 14, 2017, Institute of Physics

Liquid ventilation –breathing a liquid instead of air – has long been the stuff of science fiction, and despite experimental clinical use, its potential for treating severe pulmonary or cardiac trauma, and use in deep diving and space travel, it is still not widely used or understood.

However, thanks to the work of German researchers from TU Bergakademie Freiberg, that may be about to change.

The researchers, Thomas Janke and Dr Katrin Bauer, published their work this week in the journal Measurement Science and Technology.

Lead author Mr Janke said: "In clinical liquid ventilation, the lung is filled with liquid, rather than air. The liquid perfluorocarbon (PFC), which is used for liquid ventilation, has proven perfectly suitable as a breathing medium, as it not only dissolves high amounts of but also acts as anti-inflammatory for human tissue.

"However, very little is known about the long term outcome of liquid ventilation; the right ventilation frequency; and the volume that is breathed in and out. The challenge is in the measurement of dissolved oxygen concentrations during liquid ventilation, which is limited to averaged concentrations of the liquid entering or leaving the body. Our aim was to extend the available measurement techniques in the research of liquid ventilation."

To gain a greater insight into airway oxygen transport during liquid ventilation, the researchers used an in-vitro model of the human lung bronchial tree to measure the effect of oxygen quenching of a fluorescent dye, which has high fluorescence at low oxygen concentrations.

Because the dye's fluorescence intensity is reduced by oxygen quenching, the higher the concentration of dissolved oxygen, the lower the fluorescence intensity of the dye became.

They then imaged the flow using a digital CCD-camera, a blue LED, an optical filter and a mirror.

Using this technique, they were able to 'map' for the first time how the airway absorbed and transported the oxygen, revealing distinctive concentration patterns during inspiration and expiration.

Dr Bauer said: "Our results showed high potential for this technique to visualize the oxygen transport in a human airway model. We now plan to employ the same technique to look at more complex and realistic human airways."

Explore further: Team develops targeted drug delivery to lung

More information: "Visualizing dissolved oxygen transport for liquid ventilation in an in-vitro model of the human airways." Meas. Sci. Technol. doi.org/10.1088/1361-6501/aa60aa

Related Stories

Team develops targeted drug delivery to lung

September 2, 2015

Researchers from Columbia Engineering and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have developed a new method that can target delivery of very small volumes of drugs into the lung. Their approach, in which micro-liters ...

Mechanical ventilation as aggravating factor in lung failure

April 4, 2016

Mechanical ventilation can contribute to lung damage by inducing rapid changes in oxygen levels. Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna are now conducting studies for the first time into the significance of these ...

Recommended for you

If only A.I. had a brain

July 23, 2018

Digital computation has rendered nearly all forms of analog computation obsolete since as far back as the 1950s. However, there is one major exception that rivals the computational power of the most advanced digital devices: ...

Wearable device measures cortisol in sweat

July 20, 2018

The hormone cortisol rises and falls naturally throughout the day and can spike in response to stress, but current methods for measuring cortisol levels require waiting several days for results from a lab. By the time a person ...

Researchers report two-faced Janus membrane applications

July 20, 2018

Named for the mythical god with two faces, Janus membranes—double-sided membranes that serve as gatekeepers between two substances—have emerged as a material with potential industrial uses. Creating two distinct "faces" ...

Chemists characterize the fatal fungus among us

July 19, 2018

Life-threatening fungal infections affect more than two million people worldwide. Effective antifungal medications are very limited. Until now, one of the major challenges is that the fungal cell wall is poorly understood, ...

Infrared sensor as new method for drug discovery

July 19, 2018

Using an infrared sensor, biophysicists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have succeeded in analysing quickly and easily which active agents affect the structure of proteins and how long that effect lasts. Thus, Prof Dr. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.