What is artificial blood?

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Image of different types of blood cells

Blood is a vital part of our body. It is very important for survival of the vertebrate forms which includes us. It carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, eliminates the toxins produced in the body by transporting them to the kidneys, liver  and skin, regulates body temperature and also helps the body in fighting infections by providing immunity with the help of white blood cells. So it almost feels fictional to think that there is artificial blood which can perform something this complex similar to our own blood. Well it cannot do a lot of the functions that our own blood performs but it is used in situations where immediate oxygen is required by the body and a person doesn't have enough red blood cells to perform these tasks. Artificial blood is also known as Oxygen therapeutic.


What is an Oxycyte?

In the early 1960s, Dr. Leland Clark began experimenting for blood substitution and invented what is called Oxycyte, which is a third generation  a third-generation perfluorocarbon that can carry  therapeutic oxygen to the damaged tissues in the body


What does Blood consist of?

Blood is a special type that is passed throughout the body as a coolant and it is composed of white cells, red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Each one of them perform different specific functions. White blood cells are responsible for providing immune defense. Red blood cells are red in color which gives blood its distinct color,they help in carrying oxygen  and carbondixide from the lungs to different parts of the  body and vice versa. About 3 drops of blood  contain approximately one billion red blood cells.  Platelets help from blood clot. Red blood cells play a major role in oxygen transport as the blood consists of billions of cells which carry oxygen throughout the body. If  a person loses a considerable amount of blood it also means that a many of the red blood cells are lost thus the oxygen carrying ability is reduced. In such cases, to expand the volume and retain the lost blood cells, salines are given. This helps to restore the normal blood pressure and cells which carry oxygen. In some cases salines are not enough to produce new blood cells in the body. This is the time use of  artificial blood can help  a person survive.  Artificial blood can't replace the lost blood cells but carries oxygen when a person's red blood cells can't do this any more.


How does Artificial blood help?

Artificial blood is used as a substitute for blood. Artificial blood does not act as a full substitute for blood. When the blood volume is reduced to a particular point then the remaining blood cells in the body die due to lack of oxygen to the cells. At this point artificial blood solves the problem by acting as volume expander, for making up for the lost quantity of blood. Artificial blood acts as substitute for carrying oxygen as long as volume is retained for red blood cells and thus artificial blood can be adequate to keep a person alive.   


What are the Blood substitutes that are in the Experiment phase?

There are 2 types pf blood substitutes which are in experimental phases and being used in some parts of the world for HIV cases. These are the HBOC's(Hemoglobin based oxygen carriers) and perfluorocarbons. Both are chemically different but work on the same principle of passive distribution of gases from a higher concentration to lower concentration of oxygen

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