Suspended animation used in ‘groundbreaking’ trial to buy time for critically injured patients

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Doctors have put humans into a state of suspended animation for the first time in a groundbreaking trial that aims to buy more time for surgeons to save seriously injured patients.

The process involves rapidly cooling the brain to less than 10C by replacing the patient’s blood with ice-cold saline solution.

Known formally as emergency preservation and resuscitation, or EPR, the procedure is being trialled on people who sustain such catastrophic injuries that they are in danger of bleeding to death and who suffer a heart attack shortly before they can be treated. The patients, who are often victims of stabbings or shootings, would normally have less than a 5% chance of survival.

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Rapid cooling of trauma victims is designed to reduce brain activity to a near standstill and to slow the patient’s physiology enough to give surgeons precious extra minutes, perhaps more than an hour, to operate. Once the patient’s injuries have been attended to, they are warmed up and resuscitated.

The trial will compare the outcomes of 20 men and women who receive standard emergency care or EPR. The trial is due to run until the end of the year, and full results are not expected until late 2020.

Read full, original post: Humans put into suspended animation for first time

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