Putting Ice up your Nose Can Save a Brain

Not really ice up the nose, but the idea is something I’ve seen before. You’ve read stories where someone who has “drowned” in icy cold water but is revived later due to having a low enough body temperature to keep brain damage to minimum.   This is a great new tool for EMT’s to give those in need an edge.

After cardiac arrest, lowering someone’s body temperature can prevent life-threatening brain damage. It’s so critical that New York City requires ambulances to take some patients up to 20 minutes out of the way to hospitals with cooling equipment. EMTs could improve patients’ chances further using RhinoChill, a new portable nose spray that cools the brain on the scene.

Source: Rescue Workers Can Prevent Brain Damage with Icy Nasal Spray

In the past decade, doctors learned to safely induce hypothermia to slow brain cells’ metabolism, preventing the buildup of toxic molecules that can cause lasting damage. Many hospitals insert a refrigerated tube into a major vein, a technique too dangerous to attempt in the field.

To take the treatment on the road, medical company BeneChill left the refrigerator behind. The key is a fast-evaporating liquid that, squirted up the nose, cools the brain.

Last November, a study of 200 patients showed that those who received RhinoChill were 15 percent likelier to live, and those survivors were 15 percent likelier to avoid brain damage. The San Diego company expects to sell the device in Europe by July and hopes for FDA approval within two years. The inspiration for the nasal route? A secondary job of the nose is sucking in cool air to keep the brain comfortable, says BeneChill COO Allan Rozenberg. “RhinoChill just accelerates the process.”