Trail of bubbles leads scientists to new COVID-19 clue – WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

New York City (AP)– A doctor checking comatose COVID-19 patients for signs of a stroke instead stumbled onto a new clue about how the infection may hurt the lungs– thanks to a test that used tiny air bubbles and a robot.

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” When we wake them up, will we see they have some terrible brain injury?” worried Reynolds, who in the beginning had little way to monitor brain function other than to inspect patients pupils.

The tale highlights how months into the pandemic, scientists still are struggling to decipher the myriad ways the coronavirus attacks– and discovering tips in unexpected places.

Yet the strange finding excited lung specialists who now are studying if it assists describe why typically, the sickest coronavirus clients do not get enough oxygen in spite of being on ventilators.

Dr. Alexandra Reynolds, a neurologist at New Yorks Mount Sinai Health System, initially was baffled as she tracked “the cacophony of noise” made by those safe bubbles passing through the bloodstream of client after client.

As patients flooded New York medical facilities last spring, Mount Sinais extensive care unit that normally handles patients with brain diseases turned overnight into a COVID-19 ward, with patients heavily sedated as ventilators kept them alive.

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However to Mount Sinai lung specialist Dr. Hooman Poor, the bubble secret may be “basically the missing out on link” in why these clients werent getting adequate oxygen: Maybe unusually dilated lung blood vessels, not a heart problem, were letting the bubbles slip through.

Over a number of nights in the ICU, Reynolds checked a few of her sickest coronavirus patients– and consistently, NovaSignals robotic Doppler kept measuring bubbles that, instead of being filtered away, were in some way reaching their brains.

” This was actually unusual,” Reynolds said. Frequently bubbles avoid lung filtering by slipping through a heart flaw thats a popular stroke threat, however “theres no chance everybody unexpectedly has a hole in their heart.”

A bedside test called a transcranial Doppler uses acoustic waves to track blood circulation in the brain, but it was too risky for health workers to stand by clients heads for long durations.

Poor and Reynolds did more tests. By the end of the pilot study, 15 of 18 checked patients had microbubbles detected in the brain. And backing Poors theory, patients with the most bubbles also had the most affordable oxygen levels, scientists reported previously this month in the American Journal of Critical and respiratory Care Medicine.

So Reynolds relied on a new robotic variation, a headset that as soon as positioned over the patient can immediately do the tracking. She used it to perform whats called a bubble research study, a frequently utilized, painless test for stroke threat that involves injecting saline containing tiny air bubbles into a vein. As the microbubbles circulate, the tiniest capillary in healthy lungs– called blood vessels– will trap and filter them out of the bloodstream.

Why would blood vessels matter?

The report “I think is really going to produce a great deal of talk” amongst lung specialists, since its “more proof that the blood vessel is really where the action is,” stated Dr. Corey Kershaw of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who wasnt associated with the pilot research study.

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Next up is a bigger study that intends to see if determining bubbles might help physicians monitor whether patients are improving or getting worse.

His brand-new theory: Doctors know the coronavirus assaults the lining of capillary, triggering harmful clots. The bubble research study recommends possibly blood is being detoured from clogged up vessels to unusually expanded ones– and hence streaming through too fast to properly soak up oxygen.

Coronavirus clients on ventilators have whats called ARDS or severe respiratory distress syndrome, an inflammatory lung failure that when brought on by other infections blocks oxygen by stiffening lungs. The coronavirus does not likewise stiffen lungs, Poor described.

He cautioned that researchers need to definitively prove a heart flaw isnt contributing.

Poor and Reynolds did more tests. By the end of the pilot study, 15 of 18 tested patients had microbubbles detected in the brain.

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Reynolds turned to a brand-new robotic variation, a headset that as soon as placed over the client can instantly do the tracking. She utilized it to perform whats called a bubble study, a typically used, painless test for stroke risk that includes injecting saline including small air bubbles into a vein. As the microbubbles circulate, the smallest blood vessels in healthy lungs– called capillaries– will trap and filter them out of the bloodstream.

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An uncommon condition called hepatopulmonary syndrome causes the exact same abnormality, and its identified with a bubble study.

The findings are preliminary, not proof that dilated capillary are an issue. Still, some autopsies have connected COVID-19 to deformed lung capillaries.

“its an example of, there are so lots of things we still dont know,” Kershaw included, praising the imagination utilized to discover this most current hint.

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