Hyperventilating touted as possible treatment for alcohol poisoning

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Lead researcher Joseph Fisher says each exhalation contains alcohol that has evaporated from the blood into the lungs and that hyperventilating, under medical supervision, can speed that process. (University Health Network/handout via The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press) — Canadian researchers say they’ve developed a game-changing method to treat alcohol poisoning — and it involves literally breathing alcohol out of the body by hyperventilating.

They say it’s three times faster than relying on the liver alone.

Lead researcher Joseph Fisher, a senior scientist at University Health Network’s Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, calls the technique a “no-brainer” that doesn’t have side effects and involves a very simple mechanical device to assist breathing.

He says the process simply takes advantage of the fact that each exhalation, along with carbon dioxide, contains alcohol that has evaporated from the blood into the lungs.

“And the more breaths you take, the more evaporates. It’s that simple,” says Fisher.

Of course hyperventilating causes its own issues — including light-headedness, tingling or numbness on hands and feet, and fainting. (…)

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