X-Message-Number: 11633
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 19:45:38 -0400
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: Surgery Without Blood?

Surgery Without Blood?
                      by Laura Spinney

                      Hamsters frozen in suspended animation can
                      be brought back to life after eight hours if
                      their blood is completely removed and
                      replaced with a certain solution. That was the
                      finding presented on April 21 to FASEB's
                      Experimental Biology '99 conference by a
                      group of American scientists who claim that in
                      some cases bloodless surgery could crucially
                      increase the time that surgeons have to

                      Some types of surgery require a patient's heart
                      and circulation to be temporarily stopped. These
                      include many cardiovascular procedures and
                      some neurosurgical ones, especially those used
                      to treat brainstem aneurysms or defects in the
                      basal artery. In order to keep the subject alive in
                      this state of suspended animation, the patient's
                      body is cooled to around 15°Centigrade, which
                      reduces the metabolic needs of his organs. At
                      the same time, the blood flow to the heart is
                      bypassed by a cardiopulmonary machine and his
                      blood is diluted to prevent the clumping that
                      occurs at low temperatures. This allows the
                      surgeon about an hour to complete the operation
                      - after that the patient's circulation must be
                      started again or he will die. But scientists at
                      BioTime, Inc., in Berkeley, California believe they
                      have found a way to increase that operating
                      time, and perhaps even double it.
                      Full report

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