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Utah invention could revolutionize recovery from anesthetics

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Ed Yeates reportingA unique device that literally reverses the effects of anesthetic is waking people up after surgery within five to 10 minutes. The Utah invention could revolutionize the post-op recovery of patients.

Three University of Utah doctors - Dwayne Westenskow, Joe Orr and Derek Sakata - believed there had to be a faster, less risky way to bring patients out of anesthesia after surgery. Now there is, with their invention, called the QED-100.

Placed between the ventilator and the patient, the device lets patients re-breathe their own carbon dioxide after surgery. A filter rapidly takes out the anesthetic while they're being hyperventilated.

Why re-breathe CO2? Sakata explained, "Carbon dioxide is important to increase cerebral blood flow to wash the anesthetic out of the brain."

The patient recovers fully from the anesthetic, not slowly in hours or even a day, but within five to 10 minutes.

C.J. Johnston, a Post Anesthesia Care Units(PACU) nurse, said, "Patients are coming out awake, alert. They are not nauseated. They're hungry. They want something to drink. They're ready to go home within 30 minutes. It's a huge difference."

Patient Rebecca Valente went through traditional post-op recovery five months ago but experienced the new device following a second surgery, this week. She told us, "I had surgery in January and I lost that first day. I was out the entire day. Monday, I was alert, awake." "Say the patient is under anesthesia, and the device is not active until we want it to be. When it's time to wake the patient, we simply flip the switch, turn off our anesthetic gases here, turn up our flow, and away we go," Sakata said.

What's really remarkable about this device is it uses the body's own mechanism to get rid of the gases. There are no electrical wires, no motors, and no harmful chemicals.

The QED-100 is now marketed by a company called ANECARE. It is so revolutionary, so easy to use, it won the Utah Innovation Award for the top medical device of 2008.


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