Humans put in suspended animation for first time

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

As reported by New Scientist, Samuel Tisherman, at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said his team had placed at least one person in suspended animation, though he wouldn’t say how many people survived the procedure.

Officially called "emergency preservation and resuscitation" (EPR), it’s being tested on patients with acute trauma, such as stab wounds and gunshots, and have had cardiac arrest. Their hearts will have stopped beating, and they will have lost more than half their blood, which usually gives them a survival rate of less than 5 percent.

EPR involves rapidly cooling a patient by replacing their blood with ice-cold saline. At normal body temperature, cells need a constant supply of oxygen to produce energy and keep us alive, but lowering the temperature of the body and brain slows or stops the cells’ chemical reactions, which need less oxygen as a result.

While the brain can only survive for five minutes without oxygen before irreparable damage occurs, the team working on an EPR patient has two hours to fix their injuries before they are warmed up and their heart restarted.

The results of the trial will be released next year. Hopefully, they will answer questions such as how long a person can remain in suspended animation safely. "I want to make clear that we're not trying to send people off to Saturn," said Tisherman. "We're trying to buy ourselves more time to save lives."

Image credit: UfaBizPhoto via Shutterstock

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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
That's impressive.
Also not terribly new. The NFL has been using this technique when they suspect a severe concussion or spinal injury for the last few years. The chilling also reduces swelling, which is what does the bulk of the damage in these cases. What is new is using it for shooting and stabbing victims.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
So the difference between this and an "induced coma" is what? The substitute of saline for blood and cooling to the point of non-activity? Sounds interesting but certainly will continue to be a labor intensive activity for the present ..... now what will be REALLY impressive is when they can induce this process in a matter of minutes and make it available on the battlefield via medivac although I must agree with an earlier notation that there does come a certain point in time when saving the life, particularly in cases of severe brain trauma, might not be desirable, but that could be handled through a selection process that determines when a DNR order should be in place and used .....
 
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So the difference between this and an "induced coma" is what? The substitute of saline for blood and cooling to the point of non-activity? Sounds interesting but certainly will continue to be a labor intensive activity for the present ..... now what will be REALLY impressive is when they can induce this process in a matter of minutes and make it available on the battlefield via medivac although I must agree with an earlier notation that there does come a certain point in time when saving the life, particularly in cases of severe brain trauma, might not be desirable, but that could be handled through a selection process that determines when a DNR order should be in place and used .....
It reads like they have a single technique which can address 2 problems simultaneously, a convenient coincidence. If someone's lost half their blood, then they need blood volume more than anything so the heart has something to pump to the brain. Saline works for this until real blood can be transfused, it's better than nothing. And if you can slow down metabolism at the same time with ice cold saline, then you further reduce the oxygen needs of the brain while you treat the trauma. Seems like a win-win.

It seems weird that they replace all the blood for this. I guess the brain can deal with that at such low temps?
 

seeprime

TS Guru
Also not terribly new. The NFL has been using this technique when they suspect a severe concussion or spinal injury for the last few years. The chilling also reduces swelling, which is what does the bulk of the damage in these cases. What is new is using it for shooting and stabbing victims.
The NFL never replaced anyones blood with ice cold saline solution to keep their brains viable during extended surgery. You give the NFL way too much credit for properly using ice packs.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
They could freeze passengers in airliners. No need for in-flight meals. And the flight feels instantaneous. I mean... if they manage to defrost them.