Zee Media Bureau
Washington: In a first, a team of surgeons will begin the suspended human animation trials this month using a new technique at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The technique will initially be used on 10 patients in an attempt to save them from their nearly fatal injuries.
A team of surgeons will remove all of the patient`s blood, replacing it with a cold saline solution.
This will cool the body, slowing its functions to a halt and reducing the need for oxygen.
“We are suspending life, but we don`t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,” Doctor Samuel Tisherman, the surgeon who will lead the trial, told New Scientist.
“So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation,” he said.
The technique was developed by Doctor Peter Rhee, who successfully managed to test it on pigs in the year 2000. In 2006, Dr Rhee and his colleagues published the results of their subsequent research.
After inducing fatal wounds in the pigs by cutting their arteries with scalpels, the team replaced the pigs` blood with saline, which lowered their body temperature to 10 degrees Celsius.
While all the control pigs died, those who were warmed back up at a medium speed demonstrated a 90 percent survival rate, although some of their hearts had to be given a jump start. Afterwards, the pigs demonstrated no physical or cognitive impairment.
The technique, therefore, will only be used as an emergency measure on patients who have suffered cardiac arrest after severe traumatic injury, with their chest cavity open and having lost at least half their blood already-injuries that see only a seven percent survival rate.
The survival rate of these patients will then be measured against a control group that has not received the treatment before further testing can begin.
Even as the medics are now ready to try the technique on humans, they will require the right patient to carry out the trial.
With Agency Inputs