Researchers in Canada have found that hyperventilation can greatly increase the rate at which the body metabolizes into an alcohol, a breakthrough that could save thousands of lives.
Three million people worldwide die from alcohol deaths each year and emergency room physicians have few effective tools for treating acute alcohol poisoning.
In a proof-of-concept paper published this week in a journal called Scientific Reports, a group of Toronto researchers described how hyperventilating a device that controls carbon dioxide levels makes alcohol faster than conventional treatments. Can eliminate from.
The device is the size of a briefcase and delivers carbon dioxide to users from a tank, ensuring that the CO2 Levels in the blood remain constant – thus preventing dizziness and nausea during hyperventilation.
Lead researcher Joseph Fisher, an anesthetist and senior scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, said hospitals are often helpless in cases of alcohol poisoning. Currently, the only intervention to rid the body of excess ethanol through dialysis – is a largely inefficient process.
“[Patients] Being unconscious and getting drunk with excessive alcohol, so it’s hard to check them … and there’s nothing you can do. You have to wait until their divers metabolize it, ”Fisher told the Canadian Press.
Working on the hypothesis that the lungs could play an important role in cleansing ethanol, the team had on two occasions allowed a group of five adults to drink half a glass of vodka.
After the first drink, it took participants between two and three hours to clean half of the ethanol from their bodies, according to Breathazer’s results. For the second time, he was instructed to hyperventilate. With each exhalation, Fisher says, alcohol that has evaporated from the blood is released.
The body was able to metabolize ethanol at a rate three times faster than that of the liver. Fisher warns that the specimen is small and requires further testing.
But peer-reviewed events are promising nonetheless.
“I used to be an emergency doctor and I know they have big issues with patients – who are on top of everything – even drunk with alcohol,” Fisher said. . “Usually those children come down for the count but that can be an approach.”
The treatment is unlikely to be returned as a treatment for a hangover: researchers found that the procedure was most effective for high levels of intoxication.