New method helps patients sober up three times faster
A new method removes alcohol from the blood via the lungs far faster than leaving the liver to break it down naturally.
Canadian scientists have invented a method that can remove alcohol from the blood three times faster, which could assist greatly in treating patients with alcohol poisoning.
The idea is to make the patient hyperventilate under controlled conditions which avoid dizziness nor nausea. This uses a device known as a Clear-Mate, through which the intoxicated person breathes. The device ensures an ideal balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the inhaled air, and hence in the patient’s blood.
Hyperventilation makes alcohol evaporate through the lungs, rendering the liver’s work superfluous. Scientists from the University of Toronto tested the method by making five volunteers drink half a glass of vodka twice. The first time they allowed the test subjects to burn alcohol in the natural way without any help. It took 2-3 hours to halve the alcohol content of the blood in this way.
The second time they were asked to hyperventilate out in the open for a while, after which they continued rapid breathing through a ClearMate.
The experiments showed that the method reduced the alcohol level in the blood about three times faster than the liver alone.
Doctors have limited remedies against alcoholic poisoning. They can remove the alcohol from the blood via dialysis, but that is an extensive procedure. The new method is much simpler, and as the ClearMate device is only the size of a briefcase, doctors can also easily bring it to a patient.