A team of Scientists from Japan have successfully proven that by pumping oxygen and oxygenated liquid through animals’ buttholes into their intestines, the researchers found that they could survive without breathing through their lungs.
“It's so impressive because we never thought of breathing from the gut, but it’s possible,” Takanori Takebe, an author of the study and a doctor at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University
The reason is normally when a patient needs oxygen, doctors opt for mechanical ventilation, in which a machine pushes air into the lungs through the windpipe. They can also use another technique called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, when blood is pumped out of the body and reoxygenated with a machine.
But this procedure carries the risk of bleeding and blood clots. And as many emergency rooms saw during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not always possible to get your hands on a ventilator.
With this in mind, Takebe thought, why not try the backdoor?
They added oxygen to perfluorodecalin, a chemical that can dissolve large amounts of oxygen. In the past, the substance has been used to treat infants with severe respiratory distress and as artificial blood to improve tissue oxygenation. After shooting the liquid up the mice’s rectums, the scientists found oxygen levels were further improved. The same was true when they tested pigs and rats.
“In a 50-kilogram pig, when we provide this size of liquid oxygen to the butt, they can survive 30 minutes even when experiencing lethal respiratory failure conditions,” Takebe said.