No one said how well it worked, but some doctors are reported to have tried giving patients with severe cases of swine flu doses of nitric oxide (NO) to help their blood vessels expand and work better, and then turning them upside down in a special bed to help their lungs work better.
Doctors in Australia and New Zealand even started treating severe cases with an aggressive, unusual treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). With this, doctors withdraw patients’ blood and put it through a machine that removes carbon dioxide and then incorporates oxygen before returning the blood to the patients.
In Canada and Mexico, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), more use was made of nitric oxide for severe swine flu cases among mainly healthy young adults and adolescents:
On average, swine flu victims required “12 days of mechanical ventilation and frequent use of rescue therapies such as high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, prone positioning, neuromuscular blockade, and inhaled nitric oxide” (ibid.)
I’m bet the day’s around the corner when we’ll have home inhalers with NO, or maybe a pill like aspirin we can just pop when breathing gets bad.
Here’s the CDC’s top influenza doc talking about H1N1.