Some mammals can breathe through the anus

While this finding indicates that mice can avoid respiratory failure by breathing through their butts, the need to remove the intestinal mucosa makes this technique unsuitable for humans.

An alternative method

They tested a different technique in mice and pigs, administering oxygenated fluid through the rectum. When placed in a non-lethal environment that contained only 10% oxygen, mice that received the fluid through the anus were able to walk considerably farther than those that did not, while the researchers also measured an increase in the amount. of oxygen that reached the heart of the animals. With pigs, the same technique increased their ability to walk in low-oxygen conditions.

“The level of arterial oxygenation provided by our ventilation system, if scaled for human application, it is probably sufficient to treat patients with severe respiratory failure, which could provide life-saving oxygenation“conclude the researchers.

“Enteral ventilation through the anus”

The intention of this experiment was to search for a potential alternative to mechanical ventilation that brings air into the lungs of patients through the trachea. The lack of oxygen machines has made a team of scientists more creative when it comes to solving this shortage of ventilators, since even the ECMO technique, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, where blood is pumped out of the body and reoxygenated with a machine, is even less available than fans, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Although it seems a bit unusual idea, the tissues of the rectum can absorb oxygen, which helps the animals to recover, according to the results of the experiment. The scientists behind the study propose that injecting oxygen into the rectum could one day help save human lives if conventional ventilation methods are not within reach.

Following the success of this experiment with animal models, experts hope to begin a clinical trial of the treatment in humans sometime next year.

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