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Suspended Animation: Perfect Gas Flow Measurement Required!

Nov 28, 2011

Over the years I’ve worked at Sierra Instruments, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with many R&D professionals, including several who focus on medical research – a field that’s becoming more complex and sensitive all the time. Medical researchers who need to control the gas flow rate during experiments continue to demand higher and higher levels of accuracy.

That was certainly the case with the cutting-edge research Dr. David Kraus, Ph.D., was performing with suspended animation, a concept that has the potential to save the lives of trauma victims, heart attack patients and more. A sulfide biologist at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr. Kraus came to us looking for a gas flow measurement instrument that could deliver small amounts of H2S to laboratory animals. This special gas blend of 5% hydrogen sulfide and 95% balance nitrogen – mixed into another in stream of combined air and N2 at a very low flow range of 1-10 sccm – was intended to slow metabolism, decrease heart rate and lower temperature. Like something akin to a sci-fi movie, Dr. Kraus was “freezing” the animals in time. Removing the H2S brought them back to life!

Three Keys to Achieving Near Perfect Gas Flow Measurement in Medical R&D

Dr. Kraus’s gas mass flow meter had to meet three key requirements:

1.       Precision. Too much H2S and the animals would die. Too little and he could not achieve suspended animation. The dose had to be exact – within just 1%.

2.       Ease of Use. Because of the delicate nature of his experiments, Dr. Kraus wanted a gas mass flow controller that was simple and intuitive.

3.       Ability to Handle Special Blends. Hydrogen sulfide is not among the standard gases most flow meters can measure.

Sierra’s Smart-Trak® 100 Series Delivers Exceptional Gas Flow Rates for R&D

We were thrilled to be able to meet all of Dr. Kraus’s requirements with our Smart-Trak 100 Series flowmeters. For the management of custom gas blending, our Dial-a-Gas® technology was the perfect solution. Technicians at our factory pre-programmed the hydrogen sulfide mixture to Dr. Kraus’s specifications; all he had to do was select it from among nine other gas options on the menu. Talk about easy to use!

Dr. Kraus successfully completed his experiments, sending lab animals into suspended animation and then returning them to their normal state. He believes suspended animation may be the best way to “preserve” seriously ill or injured people who might die before reaching medical care.

For Sierra, it was a privilege to play such a critical part in this groundbreaking medical research.

Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Written By:
Erica Giannini, Marketing Manager
Sierra Instruments

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