Carbon Dioxide a Clue in Near-Death Experiences
High Levels of Carbon Dioxide During Cardiac Arrest May Cause Patients' Strange Sensations, Researchers Say
April 7, 2010 -- There may be a sound scientific explanation behind the
strange near-death experiences reported by many people who go into cardiac
A new study suggests a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood during cardiac
arrest may cause the sensations of life flashing before the eyes, feelings of
peace and joy, and encounters with mystical entities associated with near-death
Researchers say about a fifth of people who survive cardiac arrest report
During cardiac arrest, the heart ceases to function properly and dangerous
levels of carbon dioxide build up in the blood, but researchers say the
association between carbon dioxide and near-death experiences (NDEs) has never
been reported before.
"Our study adds new and important information to the field of NDE
phenomena,” researcher Zalika Klemenc-Ketis of the University of Maribor in
Slovenia, says in a news release. “We found that in those patients who
experienced the phenomenon, blood carbon dioxide levels were significantly
higher than in those who did not."
In the study, published in Critical Care, researchers examined 52
cases of cardiac arrest where the patient survived. Eleven (22%) reported
a near-death experience.
The results showed people who reported a near-death experience had much
higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in their blood than the others.