A team of doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has put humans in "suspended animation" for the first time as part of a trial that could enable health professionals to repair traumatic injuries such as gunshot or stab wounds which would otherwise end in death, according to New Scientist exclusive.
Suspended animation – or "emergency preservation resuscitation," in medical language – involves rapidly cooling a patient's body up to ten to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 Fahrenheit) by replacing their blood with an ice-cold salt solution.
This slows brain activity enough to buy the surgeon's time – a few hours – to perform life-saving operations.
That's because oxygen is no longer carried to the brain, thus stopping energy production. Without cooling, even five minutes without brain function can cause permanent damage.
After surgery, the patient's body is warmed again and the heart is revived.
The team received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct trials even without patient approval, because no alternative treatment was available.
Warning note: the team has not yet announced the results of the trial – or if there are any patients who survived the trials.
Lead researcher Samuel Tisherman told us New Scientist that he hopes to announce the results by the end of 2020.
"Once we can prove it works here, we can expand the usefulness of this technique to help patients survive otherwise," Tisherman said.
This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.