Media: “the test of liquid breathing with a person can be carried out in three months»

Media: “the test of liquid breathing with a person can be carried out in three months»

The other day I spoke with Ilya Ferapontov, a journalist of N+1. Discussed many issues and all on trial. As a result, the magazine published an article open and accessible to all readers.
I am grateful to the editors of N+1 and separately to Ilya…

After a public experiment on liquid breathing with a dog, scientists expressed doubts about the usefulness of this experience and the prospects of this technology in General. The editors of N + 1 asked the doctor and scientist Andrei Filippenko, who has been developing liquid breathing systems since Soviet times, to tell about the current state of research in this area.

N + 1: We all saw a spectacular demonstration with a Dachshund, organized By the Foundation for advanced studies. You have been dealing with the subject of liquid breathing since the 1980s, do you have anything to do with this project? Are you an employee of FPI?

Andrei Filippenko: No, I work independently of FPI. In the 1980s, I was the scientific Director of research on the problems of liquid respiration (R & d “drying Oil MOH”). In 2014-15, he carried out the Terek advance project with the FPI, continued to teach liquid breathing as a social burden, went and coordinated tasks for co-executors in the continuation of the Terek-1 theme until the first half of 2016. Now I continue to work on the problem as a medical researcher and developer of liquid breathing apparatus for submariners, divers and astronauts.

Experiments with liquid breathing in 1988

Experts from the IBP doubt that in an extreme situation, you can really use the technology of liquid breathing, in particular, because to switch to it you need to quickly remove the air from the lungs, otherwise there may be “white asphyxia”. How to solve this problem?

The reason for such asphyxia is the closing of the glottis, more precisely, the vocal cords. They do not work in all mammals with immersion (full immersion under water), and the closure can be removed by anesthesia. Prevent closure is a standard problem for all bronchoscopes, and bronchoscopy is a routine event in hospitals, that is, the problem of preventing ligament closure is solved.

How to provide breathing fluid? After all, this requires constant pumping and updating of oxygen-containing liquid. How can human lungs to provide it a permanent transfer?

In 1987-88, I showed that large animals (dogs) can cope with this — due to the movement of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles to pump fluid for several hours. We first time then saw contradiction Western publications — perhaps liquid breath longer 20 minutes, i.e. inhalation oxygenated fluid and its evacuation resurfaced, under acceptable performance gases in blood. In the case of humans, it is somewhat more difficult than with animals, but there are no insurmountable obstacles to this. Yes, it is quite difficult, such experiments for healthy and strong people, for the elderly with weak lungs and heart, it is not designed. Such among submariners there is no. There is nothing impossible in switching to liquid breathing, and then to normal breathing, although it is sometimes not easy. The devil is in the details.

Are there possible negative consequences for health then? Lung damage, pneumonia? As far as I understand, the liquid should wash out the surfactant from the lungs?

Yes, the alveoli of the lungs are indeed covered from the inside with a surfactant that keeps them unfolded. In experiments with salt solutions, it was found that the surfactant was washed out and the alveoli in the lungs could subside. But we conducted experiments with perfluorocarbon liquid, and it has an extremely low wetting capacity, respectively, surfactant from the alveoli practically does not wash out. In addition, you can add a surfactant to the respiratory fluid itself (they are different in composition). In the “pure” perfluorocarbon experiments with dogs, rats, mice, we had no cases of “decline” of the alveoli of the lungs. It should be noted that the fluid is not absorbed into the walls of the alveoli and some amount of fluid in the lungs remains, but it evaporates and exhales.

But nevertheless, as a result of experiments there was a pneumonia, for example, at the same Frank Faleychik?

Faleichik, by the way, is alive and well, my doctor-friend from the Swedish Karolinska Institute saw him recently. Often it’s not just the liquid, but also the temperature. We work in the cold to simulate the rescue of submariners, initially the animal was cooled, the whole body is immersed in water at a temperature of 10 degrees, and then it is poured into the lungs — there is hypothermia. And the only way we can reduce this hypothermia is by rapidly rising to the surface.

Especially difficult situation for submariners, because below 100 meters the water temperature does not rise above 4 degrees. Even if there is no death from hypothermia in the process of surfacing, there is a possibility of death from pneumonia later. Therefore, it is pointless to make liquid breathing technology for room or laboratory conditions.

We need to solve this problem. As to exclude the possibility of aspiration into the lungs of any impurities with a liquid, for example, dogs in the experience. That is why I proposed and tested at sea three years ago to immerse the Dachshund head down in a capsule for sea trials. She breathed oxygenated liquid, then managed to wriggle out of the dog’s wetsuit and gulped down a lot of cold sea water.

The first experiments on large dogs in the laboratory of the Institute of pulmonology in 1987. Visible monitor the condition of the dog and sampling respiratory fluid in the stage of filling of the lungs.

The personal archive of Andrey Filippenko


Another problem is related to the liquid itself. In early experiments with salt solutions, animals often died because they could not get back to breathing air. Does not give such complications with adequate technique pure perfluorocarbon liquid. By the way, even the employee of FPI trained for presentation to the first persons of the state in the video presented to the whole world misspoke and called it perfluorane, unwittingly making an advertisement for our unique drug by age. Here the purity of the liquid is critically important, it should be cleaner than for transfusions into the blood, even the slightest impurities can lead to serious consequences.
How serious a problem can high pressure nervous syndrome be?

In the hyperbaric center of the Navy of Lomonosov, where I worked since 1979, studied this effect for many years together with the institutes of the Academy of Sciences. Tried and medications, and the addition of inert gases in the breathing mixture. Helped and the, and another to lift manifestations of NSWD. What will happen at super-large depths-we will know when a person will approach them. Experiments on animals, even apes, we can not completely transfer to humans.

Why would submariners need liquid breathing technology at all? Is it not easier to make means of salvation with ordinary breathing?

It is difficult to rescue submariners — at the moment of accident on the boat there can be neither light, nor heat, almost always in an emergency compartment — water, and often the free ascent remains the only way of rescue. One of the rescue options is that submariners in special diving suits gather in one compartment, which is flooded, and then they float to the surface through a hatch. In practice, this works only at a very shallow depth, because when the pressure in the compartment increases, nitrogen begins to dissolve intensively in the blood, and then when surfacing, nitrogen bubbles are released back – in the blood vessels, in the tissues, there are many nitrogen bubbles that clog the vessels, which can lead to fatal consequences. This is called decompression sickness. It can be prevented only by maintaining a very long schedule of surfacing in the water or in the pressure chamber, which in an accident, deadly low water temperature and lack of oxygen is simply impossible.

Therefore, the period of pressure rise in the compartment should be as short as possible-tens of seconds, the instructions allow in this case even a breakthrough of the eardrums, because decompression sickness is much more dangerous. Even when submariners exercise, when they train for free ascent, people die, as reported by officers of the Dutch Navy when I was at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

And in the case of a serious deep-water accident, such as in the case of the Kursk, only one person can have a chance of salvation, the others simply will not have time. Therefore, most likely submariners will wait for rescue from the outside. Wait until demise, if the depth of more 200 meters.

In the case of liquid breathing, the situation looks completely different. The crew puts on the liquid breathing apparatus, turns them on, and then they rise, floating in a rescue wetsuit to the surface. There is no nitrogen in the respiratory fluid, there is no significant pressure difference between the lungs and the external environment, so there is no risk of decompression sickness. This does not mean that all the problems of saving people at sea will be solved, but one of them will be solved — the rise to the surface.

But such a device must be extremely complex: it must have a liquid pumping system, a system of saturating it with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from it, there must be a liquid heating and much more. Is it even possible to use such a complex and unreliable device in an emergency? How realistic is it to build?

As for the apparatus of mechanical, forced ventilation, the Americans have made a liquid breathing apparatus the size of a Cabinet. I had to make it the size of a briefcase for papers. It was simply not possible to carry him by car on business trips. Our apparatus in experiments with liquid breathing dogs thirty years ago doubled exceeded preset labor depth-700 meters instead 350 meters. Was a success. If sensible people take it right, you can do a lot.

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Andrei Filippenko

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