Health Line

Heart-lung machine helps H1N1 patients

According to a study conducted in England, running blood through a heart-lung machine may be more helpful for treating swine flu patients than putting them on a ventilator. The method of delivering oxygen to blood through microfibers, a process called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, can be used to care for swine flu patients.

Not putting patients on a ventilator gives their lungs a chance to rest, since more air is not being forced into them. The researchers involved in the study believe that the new method would be especially helpful for young flu patients with previously healthy lungs.

Source: The New York Times

Bacteria found on showerheads

A new study says that potentially disease-causing germs can get trapped in showerheads and grow into biofilm or coats of slime that deliver a bacteria blast along with hot water.

Levels of these bacteria are more than 100-fold higher than levels found in the pre-shower water, according to the researchers, who analyzed the germs in the biofilm of 45 showerheads from nine U.S. cities.
Since most of the germs are harmless, however, this finding does not pose a threat to healthy people with functioning immune systems.
Nonetheless, experts recommend changing the showerhead once a year or more frequently, like they do in hospitals, to prevent mineral deposits and biofilm.


Standards for robotic surgery to be set

Increasing numbers of surgeons are using high-tech robotic equipment to operate on patients with prostate cancer and other conditions, but some medical authorities worry about inadequate training for using this new equipment.
Although the rate of failure of robot-assisted surgeries is similar to that of traditional surgeries, such procedures can be more risky if inexperienced surgeons work with the robots.

Currently, there is no system to test a surgeon’s competency with robots, and surgeons cannot practice on simulators before working with live patients.
The issue of standards will be addressed at next month’s World Congress of Endourology in Munich. The American Urology Association will consider the recommendations.

Source: Reuters

Swine flu vaccine to be given as a spray

The swine flu vaccine might first be administered as a nasal spray, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials. The nasal spray, called FluMist, is is approved only for healthy people ages 2 to 49 years.

It is not recommended for some of the people who are most in danger of severe swine flu complications. These include pregnant women, children younger than 2, and people with asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases.

The nasal spray vaccine is made from a live yet weakened strain of the swine flu virus, in contrast to the normal shot vaccines, which are made from the killed flu virus.

Source: Associated Press