X-Message-Number: 32140
Subject: Cryonics and organ transplants
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 2009 22:49:01 -0500


OK, I don't usually jump in on these discussions, but I can see the enthusiasm 
building for what might sound like a reasonable idea.

Before you all waste many hours of your lives trying to persuade Alcor to donate
the organs of neuropatients, let me dump some ice water reality on you.  As 
much as I respect Kennita, that suggestion won't work at all, for a number of 
reasons.  It shows a lack of familiarity with both transplant medicine and with 
the practicality of real-life cryonics today.  Really, even 15 years ago at 
Alcor, we discussed these questions with hospital personnel and organ donation 
specialists.  It is completely unfeasible.

1.  It is extremely difficult to do effective blood washout and perfusion of 
transport/cryoprotection fluids into a brain with just an open neck available 
for perfusion.  Developing such techniques would require a great deal of new 
research and skills.  Big time and big money.

So, we have to do the washout and perfusion with the head still attached to the 
body to take advantage of an intact circulatory system.

2.  These means that all of the transplantable organs of the body are either a) 
perfused with our set of chemicals or b) left with blood in the organs, 
untreated, for a couple of hours.

3.  If a), then the patient's organs would be medically unusable for transplant.
We cannot prove (think 100 million dollars or more) to the FDA and various 
medical boards that our particular combination of fluids is "safe and effective"
for living patients.  No transplant team in the United States would accept such

4.  If b), then the organs could suffer enough ischemic damage that they 
wouldn't be usable either.

Even if the above problems were solved, here are some of the other difficulties 
that would have to be overcome.

5.  In order for the transplanted organs to be viable, the procedures would have
to done to hospital standards -- which today and perhaps for decades means the 
procedures would have to be done AT a hospital.  

6.  This would require immense amounts of education and training of both 
hospital and cryotransport personnel so that they would be willing to cooperate,
in order that both the organs for transplant AND the patient's head/brain were 
handled to maximum best effect.

7.  This would require years of clinical research to determine the best ways to 
do this surgery to remove organs (NOT a 5 minute job) while protecting the 
patient's brain --if you could even get approval to attempt such research.

8.  And why would anyone spend the uncountable millions of dollars to do all of 
this to prepare for a cryonics case which MIGHT occur ONCE every 10-20 years in 
any particular hospital?  

Where would anyone benefit from this?

Any hospital or organ donation organization could spend $10,000 in publicity and
probably persuade several more local families each year to donate the organs of
accident victims.  That would be many more organs than they could gain from 
cryonics organizations over many years, and for a lot less trouble.

If you all have $100 million to donate to improving cryonics, we can all come up
with at least 50 uses of it more important than this.

Steve Bridge
former Alcor President


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