Mass General Medical Breakthrough
Much More Effective Than Current Treatments
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic, colorless, odorless gas produced by cars, trucks, fires and explosions. Every year in the US, more than 50,000 people with CO poisoning are admitted to emergency rooms. Now researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have invented a new light therapy that removes CO from the victim's blood. It's proven to be much more effective than current oxygen therapy treatments.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is frequently deadly. It occurs when inhaled CO, for instance from a running car in a contained space, displaces oxygen from the blood's hemoglobin. That compromises the body's ability to deliver oxygen.
It's known that visible light can break the molecular bond between CO and hemoglobin. Knowing that, the MGH team have combined phototherapy with an artificial membrane. In lab tests on animals, it proved highly effective - 2 & 3 times more effective - in removing CO and increasing the survival rate. The strategy has to be ramped up for use at the human level. But given its effectiveness on animals, it appears to be a significant life saver.