July 7, 2008

Rat Study Finds New Therapy for Hemorrhage

U.S. scientists say they've found a tiny amount of inhaled or intravenous hydrogen sulfide greatly improves the survival of rats with extreme blood loss.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center researchers said they used hydrogen sulfide to induce a state of reversible metabolic hibernation as a way to reduce death from insufficient blood supply to organs and tissues in a rat model of lethal hemorrhage.

The study determined 75 percent of rats given inhaled hydrogen sulfide and 67 percent of rats given intravenous hydrogen sulfide survived at least two weeks -- the duration of the monitoring period -- after losing more than half of their blood for an extended period. Long-term survival rates for the untreated rats in the two control groups were 23 percent and 14 percent, in that order.

Our goal is to develop life-saving treatment for critically ill people suffering from acute, sustained blood loss, such as in a car accident or on the battlefield, said biologist Mark Roth.

The study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Robert Winn and colleagues at the University of Washington's Harborview Medical Center, is to appear in the July 10 issue of the Journal of Trauma Injury, Infection and Critical Care.