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The Medical Revolution: Doctors are resuscitating frozen people

The emergency patient was already considered clinically dead – blood replaced with saline

2019/11/22 13:32

For an emergency patient in the US, the experiment was already successful. Due to the cold sleep, doctors were able to perform rescue operations.

© dpa


With the help of cold and saline, American doctors want to keep seriously injured people alive. They have been trying for a few years now for a treatment in which patients' blood is swapped for saline and the body cooled to 10 to 15 degrees, according to the magazine The new scientist on Thursday reported. In an emergency patient in the US, the experiment was already successful. Because of the cold sleep, doctors quickly put death on ice for two hours, during which time doctors were able to make rescue interventions.

Because the cold stops the breakdown processes in the cells, the brain takes less damage. Doctors have more time to perform rescue operations. How many patients have already tested the procedure and how many have survived, said study director Samuel Tisherman of the University of Maryland (Baltimore) School of Medicine. He hopes to release the results by the end of 2020.

The probability of survival is less than five percent


Tisherman performs tests on severely injured patients and was admitted to the University of Baltimore (Maryland) Hospital. Only people who have lost more than half their blood due to a gunshot or stab wound, whose heart stopped beating and whose survival probability has dropped below five percent are considered. They would normally die within minutes.

In extreme cases, physicians in extreme cases struggle for one another for several hours – and they can succeed. This is because of a method established about two decades ago: therapeutic hypothermia. For example, people with cardiovascular failure are already cooling down during or immediately after resuscitation – special pads, infusions or ice bags. Also during cardiac surgery the body temperature is partially lowered.

Tested on animals

This cold management combines US researchers with the injection of saline into the bloodstream. "That principle works, we know from animal experiments," said Bernd Böttiger, president of the German Revival Council. As far as he knows, people have not tested it on other doctors yet. Whether and how well the procedure works will therefore only be judged by a series of results so far unavailable, said the director of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne.

DPA / here

The Medical Revolution: Doctors are resuscitating frozen people 2