Medics have successfully trialed a technique that could save the lives of patients with extreme trauma. New Scientist is reporting that a team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has successfully placed at least one patient in suspended animation by filling their bodies with ice-cold saline, lowering their temperature to a point where they’re technically dead. This grants surgeons a two-hour window to fix a person’s traumatic injuries before bringing them back to life, which is done by warming them up and restarting their heart.
The technique, officially called emergency preservation and resuscitation (EPR), is being carried out on people who arrive at the University of Maryland Medical Centre in Baltimore with an acute trauma – such as a gunshot or stab wound – and have had a cardiac arrest. Their heart will have stopped beating and they will have lost more than half their blood. There are only minutes to operate, with a less than 5 per cent chance that they would normally survive.