Butt breathing? Study proposes oxygenation through the intestine for patients with respiratory failure


If you think that the prostate exam is uncomfortable, you may be ready to find something much more complex. A study is analyzing the possibilities of applying oxygenation through the anus in humans, as a clinical method for patients with respiratory failure.

According to what Hipertextual reviews, the initiative is promoted by a scientific group of several universities in Japan. It is not new, it appeared a couple of years ago as a simple theoretical study based on the way of breathing of a species of fish.

In all this time it went from concept to practice, first in rodents and now in pigs. In both cases it worked and now they are fine-tuning the last details to start clinical trials in people. This would happen in 2023, since they are already seeking approval, demonstrating that the method is really effective.

The fish where this unusual mechanism comes from are called loaches. It’s called gut breathing. Water animals have their own normal gill system.

But when subjected to environments where there is little access to oxygen, they activate the secondary method that works through the intestine taking in air through the anus.

Oxygenation from behind

The thing should work as follows. First, oxygen is introduced through the anus. So that gas exchange process that commonly works in the lungs happens in the gut.

In loaches (fish) it happens naturally because the intestine of the fish has a thin epithelial layer that has a good number of capillaries and red blood cells through which oxygen passes without problems.

They did the same thing with mice and also with pigs, so they will soon be looking for human volunteers with respiratory failure.

Whether in humans, mice or pigs, or basically mammals, it is necessary to modify the conditions of the intestine to recreate the conditions of loaches. They do this by scraping the walls with the intention of making a thinner epithelium.

The result, at first, was painful for the mice. It was then that they tried a second option, that of introducing oxygen in liquid form.

The experts introduced a combination of oxygenated perfluorodecalin. The liquid proved to have a good integration capacity with O2 and CO2 to make gas exchange with the intestine more friendly.

Butt breathing.  Image extracted from Hipertextual
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