Airdate: Nov 03, 2005
Scientist: Ken Kasza (KAY-sa)
Slurry Technology: Medical Uses
Paramedics using a new kind of ice slurry could help save victims of stroke and cardiac arrest.
Think ice slurry and you might envision a soda fountain drink, but a new technology is being tested that’ll use slurries to help save lives. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Engineers at Argonne National Laboratory believe that ice particles, chemically modified to be made smoother and smaller, could give doctors more time to save a patient undergoing cardiac arrest. Ken Kasza, a mechanical engineer at Argonne says that the slurry mixture has a greater capacity to cool than plain chilled water, and that it could be used to keep a patient’s heart and brain alive.
"We are trying to reduce the rate of cell death upon cardiac arrest or stroke. When, there’s a cessation of blood flow, cells in the brain start to die within four minutes. So we are using our slurries to rapidly cool the brain and the heart. We will fill the lungs up with an ice slurry, and the lungs act as an in-body heat exchanger, in which when you do chest compressions - CPR - there’s a small level of blood flow and that blood that comes through the lungs, gets cooled dramatically by the slurry that we have charged into the lungs. That blood then flows to the brain, blood also flows to the heart, rapidly cooling those two organs. And greatly then reducing the rate of cell death in those organs, giving the doctors a much larger window in time to try to get the heart beating, and try to get the body basically back to a near normal condition again."
As they chill down, the cells go into a kind of suspended animation, keeping the brain alive and giving the physician more time to save the patient’s life.
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