The first human trials of “suspended animation” will begin with 10 patients who would be fatal to operate on otherwise.
The FDA approved a study that will allow surgeons at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital to suspend life temporarily while they operate.
The researchers behind the study are resisting to the idea of it being “suspended animation,” though. Distancing themselves from science-fiction, surgeon Samuel Tisherman calls it “emergency preservation and resuscitation.”
This “suspended animation” involves reducing body temperature to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) by flushing cold saline into the system, which slows bloodflow and other biological processes, and prevents the body from bleeding out. This can be sustained for the human body for 2 hours, giving surgeons more time to perform emergency operations.
This technique was first tested on 40 pigs on 2000. The pigs received lethal wounds and were then cooled down for surgeons to resuscitate, saving 90% of the pigs with no sustained cognitive or physical impairments.
The FDA has declared the surgeons do not need informed consent from the test subjects due to the dire situation. Test subjects will have suffered a cardiac arrest after a traumatic injury, and they will have likely lost about 50 percent of their blood. The UPMC Presbyterian Hospital surgeons sees one of these cases about once a month, and without suspended animation, a person’s survival in this case is less than seven percent. Because there will be no required informed consent to the procedure, people can visit this website to opt out.
Source: New Scientist