Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The hight of cool?

We watched a really fascinating program last night on BBC2, it was about a new surgical technique that essentially involves cryogenics, i.e. the body of the patient is cooled down so that the heart stops, all the systems of the body shut down and brain activity reduces to zero, you could say that the patient is effectively dead, certainly by our current definition of what dead means. By cooling the core temperature of the patient in this way it gives surgeons a window of opportunity to perform vital repairs to major organs like the heart, in the example on the program last night the guy was effectively dead for about 40 minutes before being warmed up again and revived; he appeared to suffer no ill effects from this.

During the program the presenter also described an incident in Norway where a skier had fallen through some ice into a fast flowing river, her heart stopped and she was effectively dead for about three and a half hours before she arrived by helicopter to hospital where they warmed her up again and successfully revived her. This story and others like it provided an incentive to investigate this phenomenon for medical purposes.

I wonder if any of these dead people noticed any pearly gates, angels or bright inviting lights, oh come on you were thinking it too!

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