Extreme Hypothermia in Trauma Surgery: Dr. Hasa Alam & Co.

Who says hypothermia is bad? Well, its actually bad but some doctors in Boston are using hypothermia to buy more time to conduct much needed surgeries to trauma patients.

A new medical technique which chills the body of a trauma patient thus giving more time to doctors to conduct a surgical operation is now being developed by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Harvard Medical School.

According to researchers, inducing extreme hypothermia to the patient’s body to shut it down during the operation adds to the patient’s chance of survival. The procedure also includes connecting a pump to the major blood vessels surrounding the heart to remove the warm blood and replace it with cold saline solution. This cools the patient’s body to as low as 10 degrees Celsius.

Cooling the body prevents the production of toxins that kill cells during an operation when the oxygen level is low. This new technique helps protect the brain and organs from any damage. It also reduces the need for anaesthetic and life support machines.

Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon Dr. Hasa Alam, who leads the research, says this cold treatment can be done to patients suffering from gunshot wounds, stabbings and car accidents.

Dr. Alam adds the technique showed huge success in animals and their team is preparing to test it on human patients.
Meanwhile, BBC Two Horizon documentary reveals that similar technique is being used on heart patients at Yale New Haven in Southern Connecticut. Cardiac surgeon John Elefteriades of the said hospital says they did not find any evidence of impairment after cooling their patient’s body during the operation.