The technique that freezes bodies to the brink of death could help doctors in emergency surgery by putting patients into a state of suspended animation.
A ground-breaking technique that freezes bodies to the brink of death could help doctors in emergency surgery by putting patients into a state of suspended animation.
The cold treatment, being developed at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, will result in patients' bodies being cooled to as low as 10ºC.
The normal body temperature is 37ºC and humans usually die rapidly if the core body temperature drops below 22ºC.
Dr Hasan Alam, the surgeon leading the research, said trials of the technique in animals had shown it to be hugely successful.
''By cooling rapidly in this fashion we can convert almost certain death into a 90% survival rate," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Alam as saying.
Surgeons are pioneering a method of inducing extreme hypothermia in trauma patients so that their bodies shut down entirely during major surgery, giving doctors more time to operate.
The technique would help to reduce the damage done to the brain and other organs while the patient's heart is not beating.
Researchers will soon begin the first human trials of the technique, which involves replacing a patient's blood with a cold solution to rapidly reduce body temperature.