Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that a chemical commonly used in the production of such medical plastic devices as intravenous (IV) bags and catheters can impair heart function in rats. Appearing online this week in the American Journal of Physiology, these new findings suggest a possible new reason for some of the common side effectsloss of taste, short term memory lossof medical procedures that require blood to be circulated through plastic tubing outside the body, such as heart bypass surgery or kidney dialysis. These findings also have strong implications for the future of medical plastics manufacturing.
In addition to loss of taste and memory, coronary bypass patients often complain of swelling and fatigue. These side effects usually resolve within a few months after surgery, but they are troubling and sometimes hinder recovery.
His personal experience with coronary bypass surgery propelled his search for a root cause for the loss of taste phenomenon, reports principal investigator Artin Shoukas, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering, physiology and anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins. "I'm a chocoholic, and after my bypass surgery everything tasted awful, and chocolate tasted like charcoal for months."
Shoukas and Caitlin Thompson-Torgerson, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in anesthesiology and critical care medicine suspected that the trigger for these side effects might be a chemical compound of some kind.
To test their theory, Shoukas and his team of researchers took liquid samples from IV bags and bypass machines before they were used on patients. The team analyzed the fluids in another machine that can identify unknown chemicals and found the liquid to contain a chemical compound called cyclohexanone. The researchers thought that the cyclohexanone in the fluid samples might have leached from the plastic. Although the amount of cyclohexa
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Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions