Air plasma for medical applications


The design and the electric and emission characteristics of two handheld air plasma spray generators are presented. The plasma is generated by 60 Hz periodic discharges between two concentrically cylindrical electrodes. A ring magnet is used to rotate arc discharges, which sprays outward by an air flow. The rotation of arc discharges keeps the generated plasma in non-equilibrium state and at relatively low temperature (<55°C). The plasma effluent yet contains high energy electrons which dissociate molecular oxygen into atomic oxygen. The emission spectroscopy of the plasma plume reveals that the plasma effluent, which carries abundant atomic oxygen, extends from the cap of the plasma spray by about 25 to 30 mm. Tests on blood droplets and smeared blood samples revealed the effectiveness and mechanism of low temperature air plasma on clotting blood. Tests on oral pathogens show that air plasma creates a zone of microbial growth inhibition in each of six treated samples, including those of grampositive bacteria and fungi, and on a cultivating biofilm sample of Streptococcus mutans UA159. The medical applications of the air plasma sprays for 1) bleeding control, 2) wound healing, and 3) dental disinfection, are then illustrated and discussed. As animal models, pigs were used in the tests of stopping wound bleeding and post-operative observation of wound healing by this air plasma spray. The results show that the bleeding from a cut to an ear artery is stopped swiftly; this air plasma spray also shortens wound healing time to about half (from 14 days to 8 days) after stopping the bleeding of a cross cut wound in the ham area. In-vitro tests demonstrate that the plasma effluent of the spray can prevent the formation of dental biofilms and further eliminate the mature biofilms.

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Kuo, S. (2012) Air plasma for medical applications. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 5, 481-495. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2012.59061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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