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Abdomen Can Help In Gas Exchange In Lung Failure

nslated to a critical care setting, this could be a potentially life-saving increase in oxygenation."

Friedberg's idea was inspired by a similar technique, already used for patients suffering from kidney failure -- peritoneal dialysis -- in which a catheter is placed into the abdominal cavity and the blood is cleansed by using the lining of the abdominal cavity to exchange toxins and electrolytes. Friedberg wondered if it would be possible to use the lining of the abdominal cavity for gas exchange, like a "supplemental" lung, analogous to the way it is used like a "supplemental" kidney with peritoneal dialysis. To test this idea, it was clear that a nontoxic liquid capable of dissolving large volumes of gas would be needed. Friedberg felt perfluorocarbons were well suited for this purpose.

"These were short-term proof of principle experiments performed on otherwise healthy pigs. What we found, however, was that the circuit was able to increase arterial oxygen levels by a significant degree and that the technique was simple and safe to perform in these short-term studies. We have shown that this technique has potential. The next steps would be to optimize the effect, by testing it in a lung disease model and assess long-term safety," states Friedberg.

Friedberg addresses the potential for this technology in treating critically ill patients, "I have seen patients die who might have survived if there had been some way to buy them more time for their lungs to recover. They just exceeded the ability of the ventilator to exchange enough gas through their sick lungs. Also, there is a phenomenon of ventilator-induced lung injury, a vicious cycle where the high vent settings required to support someone with lung failure actually exacerbate the underlying lung disease, requiring even more vent support. A technique like abdominal perfusion, if proven to be safe and effective, could be used to short-circuit this positive feedback loop and 're
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