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Human testing of suspended animation will soon begin on emergency room patients with severe bleeding, reports io9.
Twenty years ago, Peter Safar and Ron Bellamy proposed that the rapid induction of hypothermia could ‘buy time’ for a trauma surgical team to control bleeding. Now, thanks to the work of Peter Rhee and Samuel Tisherman, this idea is officially ready for prime time.
‘We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,’ noted Tisherman in a New Scientist article. ‘So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.’ The idea is to buy patients precious time during critical operations, such as after a massive heart attack, stabbings, or shootings.
The technique will be used on 10 patients who would otherwise be expected to die from their injuries. The doctors on the project will be paged when a candidate patient arrives at the hospital; there’s usually one case like this every month, typically with survival rates less than 7%.
[…] This technique involves internal rather than external cooling. A team of surgeons will remove all of the patient’s blood, replacing it with a cold saline solution; the cold fluid is administered through a large tube, called a cannula, which is placed into the aorta, the largest artery in the body. This will slow down the body’s metabolic functions, significantly reducing its need for oxygen. Then, a heart-lung bypass machine will be used to restore blood circulation and oxygenation as part of the resuscitation process. A state of profound hypothermia will be induced, at about 50ºF (10ºC), to provide a ‘prolonged period of cardiac arrest’ after extensive bleeding. In other words, clinical death.
Bonus: Stretch your notions of gender and beauty with these “Portraits of Genderqueer Nation” from Vocativ.
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