Sumary of Researchers solve the mystery of silent hypoxia caused by COVID-19:
- A condition when oxygen levels in the body are abnormally low, which can irreparably damage vital organs if gone undetected for too long..
- Now, thanks to computer models and comparisons with real patient data, Boston University biomedical engineers and collaborators from the University of Vermont have begun to crack the mystery..
- In coronavirus patients, it’s thought that the infection first damages the lungs, rendering parts of them incapable of functioning properly..
- Bela Suki, Study C0-Author and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Materials Science and Engineering,BU College of Engineering Some coronavirus patients have experienced what some experts have described as levels of blood oxygen that are “incompatible with life.”.
- To help get to the bottom of what causes silent hypoxia, BU biomedical engineers used computer modeling to test out three different scenarios that help explain how and why the lungs stop providing oxygen to the bloodstream..
- Their research, which has been published in Nature Communications, reveals that silent hypoxia is likely caused by a combination of biological mechanisms that may occur simultaneously in the lungs of COVID-19 patients, according to biomedical engineer Jacob Herrmann, a research postdoctoral associate in Suki’s lab and the lead author of the new study..
- Normally, if areas of the lung aren’t gathering much oxygen due to damage from infection, the blood vessels will constrict in those areas..
- But according to Herrmann, preliminary clinical data have suggested that the lungs of some COVID-19 patients had lost the ability of restricting blood flow to already damaged tissue, and in contrast, were potentially opening up those blood vessels even more–something that is hard to see or measure on a CT scan….