BOSTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Medical researchers in the United States say they are poised to begin human trials on a suspended-animation technique for surgery patients.
The idea is to use extreme hypothermia to basically shut down the body during emergency trauma surgery, giving doctors more time to work and less need for anesthetics and life-support equipment.
Dr Hasan Alam, a leader of the research team from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, told the BBC that dropping the body's core temperature as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit can work for as long as three hours without causing brain damage.
"In a trauma ward you only have a few minutes to make a repair," London anaesthetist Dr. Kevin Fong told the BBC. "By inducing hypothermia in trauma patients you can extend that and giving more of an opportunity for survival than was there before."
The technique, which has been successful on animals, involves replacing the patient's blood with a cold saline solution using a pump.