Saturday, April 11, 2020

Nitric Oxide as Treatment

4/10/20 UPI:
Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are enrolling patients in an international clinical trial to find out if inhaled nitric oxide benefits those with COVID-19 who have severely damaged lungs.

Right now, there are no approved treatments for the illness caused by the new coronavirus. A severe form of lung failure called acute respiratory distress syndrome is the leading cause of death in COVID-19.

When lungs are failing, air is received by some parts of them but not others. Nitric oxide is a gas that improves blood flow in areas of the lungs that are getting air, increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood stream.

Nitric oxide also reduces the workload of the right side of the heart, which is under extreme stress during lung failure.
 My own experience with nitric oxide: I recently learned, as doctors tried to identify why I was short of breath (for at least six months) that inflammatory response from the lungs is to produce nitric oxide. 

I an now using an inhaler to deal with that likely allergy-induced response.  I have been able to increase my treadmill speed from a reliable 2.3 mph to 2.6 mph, and I think that I can get better as cardiovascular condition improves.

My other nitric oxide experience is nitroglycerin, which I take when having myocardial infarcts (heart attacks).  When you are having one, taking one sublingual provides immediate pain relief.  The nitric oxide it releases dilates blood vessels, improving blood flow.  How was this explosive benefit of nitroglycerin discovered?  I thought that I have read that people working with it had headaches and dizziness caused by low blood pressure.  But it appears not:
Following Thomas Brunton's discovery that amyl nitrite could be used to treat chest pain, William Murrell experimented with the use of nitroglycerin to alleviate angina pectoris and reduce blood pressure, and showed that the accompanying headaches occurred as a result of overdose. Murrell began treating patients with small doses of GTN in 1878, and the substance was widely adopted after he published his results in The Lancet in 1879.

1 comment:

  1. Viagra also works by increasing nitric oxide, but focuses it mostly in one part of the anatomy.