No one has ever been cryogenically frozen, revived, and then cured – yet. However, a team of surgeons in the US has developed Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation for Cardiac Arrest from Trauma (EPR-CAT), a groundbreaking emergency technique that will go some way to doing just that.
Medics at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have been given permission to place ten patients with knife or gunshot wounds in suspended animation – which scientists prefer to call “emergency preservation and resuscitation”. Hypothermia is induced by placing a catheter directly into the aorta to replace blood with ice-cold saline, dropping body temperatures to 10C. Clinically dead, this buys time for lifesaving medical intervention, before the blood is pumped back through the veins again.
If supercool stasis can be achieved for more than few hours, long-term suspension has implications for cryonics, with human hibernation a hopeful alternative to death.
Samuel Tisherman, Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh