Random ramblings from my beer soaked melon about politics, religion, sex, stupidities, nature, and any other subject that penetrates the haze. Sometimes crude and not for the faint of heart or people with normal intelligence, or an abundance of common sense.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Susan Ertz

I think tonight I want to talk about death. It is the one thing that we don’t seem to be able to defeat.
I know I have been trying to figure out how to outwit that bastard from the time I was a little nit.

I also want to talk about affairs of the heart. More specifically cardio pulmonary function.

To zoom in even further think back to the last Emergency Room scene you saw in a movie or on the boob tube. Which is a funny name if you consider that you get fined if you show boobs. Just can’t seem to get off that subject.

You all know what goes on, EMT’s burst through the doors with a man on a stretcher they have a breathing tube in and are squeezing the bag to give air to the his lungs (it’s almost always a man.) and another is doing chest compressions to get the oxygen to the poor saps brain. After that it’s all Doctors and Nurses spouting jargon about ringers and epinephrine and clear or get zapped with a gazillion volts because we have to get this heart back to work before the brain cells die.

Funny thing, the medical community is all about standardized responses. If this happens, do this. If that doesn’t work try this, but above all don’t think.

It is, in fairness a valid response. When in a crisis you have to react quickly and thinking becomes secondary to following established procedures. It works in battle and in the treatment of patients in an emergency room.

But what happens if the treatment is wrong?

The bright boys have always defined death as when the cells have died from lack of oxygen. They figure that it’s too late after four or five minutes without oxygen to the cells. Well, some of the bright boys decided not to take this on faith. They decided to look further. I love those kind if bright boys.

First they decided to look at the cells of the hearts of some of the dead guys.
What they found is that the cells of the hearts didn’t die from lack of oxygen.
Go figure.

There is a little known defense the human body uses. If cancer cells are detected the body floods them with oxygen. This is kinda a reverse reaction giving them too much of something they need to survive, but it does seem to kill them.

Now back to the bright boy’s research. They found that if your heart goes without oxygen for more than an hour it is still ok, but if you force it to restart after a few minutes it might not be OK.

That flood of oxygen is bad for good cells too. Too much oxygen kills.
Hmm, what do we do now?

Based on the research done they tried to figure out new treatments that had a better chance to be effective on people who are about to meet their maker
The current treatment is if you had lost heart function for more than 5 minutes with no CPR you is gone on to a better life or into the void if that’s what you believe.

So the accepted treatment is to jump start the heart and flood it with oxygen which has a survival rate of about 15 percent. Not the kind of odds a nit who lost both parents to heart problems wants to hear.

They found that after hour’s oxygen deprived heart cells were still alive and suffered no damage.

One of the smart guys, Dr. Lance Becker an emergency room medicine expert at the University of Pennsylvania says that once the cells have been without oxygen for more than 5 minutes they die when the oxygen is resumed. Now that is a fucking conundrum.

He is now the head of the newly created Center of Resuscitation Science a newly created research institute operating on one of medicine’s newest frontiers: treating the dead.

He says the standard procedure to flood the heart muscle is exactly the wrong thing to do.
What is being studied in four hospitals across the country is ways to treat the heart attack patient.
One thing they do is put the subject on a heart lung bypass machine to maintain circulation to the brain until the heart could be safely restarted. They then inject a cardioplegic blood infusion (think of a slurpy for vampires) to keep the heart in a state of suspended animation.
They can then bring it back in a gradual way that doesn’t cause the cells to die.
There have only been 34 patients treated this way so far but 80% of them have been sent home alive.

I think I need to find one of these hospitals and move in right next door. I like 80% a lot better than 15%.

I know I will never change my life style to improve my chances of not having my heart attack me. So I hope they fast track this research. The trouble is, it doesn’t make anything bigger or harder so it won’t get the funding it needs.

So I guess maybe I am full of shit.

Maybe next time I'll talk about beer farts or the rising cost of porn.
posted by Nit Wit at 6:06 AM | Permalink |


  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger billy pilgrim

    the medical community makes a fortune by keeping people alive after heart attacks. it gives them dependable repeat business as well as a lifetime customer of big pharma.

    i often wonder if a cure has be found for cancer or aids. the problem being that once a patient is cured there goes the money to made in a lifetime of expensive treatment.

    more money in treating a problem that in curing it. kinda like the war in iraq. a quick victory would have deprived the military industrial complex and oil companies a lot of windfall profits.

    or maybe as you say, i'm full of shit.

  • At 9:42 PM, Blogger Nit Wit

    The thing I wonder about is the billons that go to schools and medical research labs to find cures for stuff like cancer. As you say if they find a complete cure their out of a job. not much incentive to find cures.

  • At 9:27 AM, Blogger Kalibitch

    sorry - medical terms... eyes glazed over...
    farts and porn would be good. :P

  • At 11:23 PM, Blogger Babs

    I think chocolate massages may be the answer to any aliment. But then again, maybe I'm full of chocolate.

  • At 12:24 AM, Blogger Babs

    Is it past midnight there?


  • At 12:30 AM, Blogger yellowdog granny

    be good too your heart and your heart will be good to you...
    happy birthday..did you get your card?....

  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger billy pilgrim

    happy feckin birthday, long may you run!!