May 14, 2013

New machines that have brought people back to life who've been "dead" for more than 40 minutes.

"A new mechanical CPR technique being tested in Australia is being credited with saving the lives of three people who were clinically dead for more than 40 minutes. The technique uses two machines: One, called an AutoPulse, keeps up a constant stream of compressions (far stronger and more consistent than a human can), while the second, a portable heart-lung machine, pumps blood to the vital organs and brains."

35 comments:

Saint Croix said...

I think what they mean is that their hearts stopped beating for an hour. Thus the AutoPulse machine can keep you alive while your heart is not functioning.

But the stopping of the heart has not been how we define human death for several decades now. The standard, in all 50 states and Washington D.C., is total and complete brain death.

TerriW said...

I wonder if it could be used to keep donatable organs viable longer. (Maybe that's not as much of an issue these days?)

edutcher said...

The issue is how long there's no blood to the brain.

The Blonde can give you chapter and verse on the topic.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think what they mean is that their hearts stopped beating for an hour. Thus the AutoPulse machine can keep you alive while your heart is not functioning."

It must mean more than that (or the report is very deceptive).

I had the impression that the hearts were not working for 40+ minutes, then the technique was started, and they came back.

It doesn't make sense to say they were "clinically dead" if the machine was maintaining the heartbeat all that time.

Petunia said...

I'm not sure what's going on, since the article wasn't very thorough, but the machine itself is most likely not going to make a non-working heart start working again. It can keep the blood circulating, and the organs perfused, but it's not going to address the underlying problem. It's just doing a more efficient job of compressing the chest, than a human can do.

What COULD bring the heart back would be something like defibrillation, which can shock the sino-atrial node (natural pacemaker) back into doing its job; or certain drugs, which can help convert a fatal dysrhythmia into a perfusing rhythm; or perhaps even inserting a stent to open up a blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow to the ischemic part of the heart muscle.

firstHat said...

This is timely and maybe on topic
http://datechguyblog.com/2013/05/14/dr-paul-byrne-on-brain-death-vs-true-death-on-datechguy-on-daradio-now-available/

Paul said...

What about brain damage? I thought if the brain didn't get O2 for more then 3 minutes there was brain damage.

Is that still correct?

traditionalguy said...

It's a miracle. The heart not pumping blood is the cause of every death.

How they restarted a body that flat lined for 40+ minutes is a big question.

Brain damage is assumed past 8 minutes. But there are people who have done 11 minutes and then recovered a full function. I am one.

Hirsch Cohen said...

Would this work on Angelina Jolie?

EDH said...

An adaptation of that AutoPulse machine could be a useful "marital aid" for a lazy husband.

Cedarford said...

The standard, in all 50 states and Washington D.C., is total and complete brain death.
=======================
Not true. Surgeons and attending physicians are permitted to pull the plug on people with irreparable heart lung function found in surgery.
And eperiments have gone far in discovering what signals and what hormones the brain stem triggers..mainly to correct disorders, but though ghoulish - it involves cutting off the heads of animals and keeping them alive longer and longer with a brainstem simulator.

Given that a machine can substitute for a brainstem, many have proposed that life be defined as cognitive area brain function..with the ability of vital support organs to function to maintain human cognition.

A firing brainstem - be it organic to the animal or a machine - is not real life

Unknown said...

Is this a credible source? It looks weirdly like an ad.

They said these ppl were clinically dead for 40 minutes and suffered no repercussions from loss of oxygen to brain.

bagoh20 said...

I just had a bunch of people learn CPR today at our company just to increase the odds that someone would actually try to resuscitate me before the rest stopped them.

dc said...

Under Obamacare....no AutoPulse for you.

Saint Croix said...

It doesn't make sense to say they were "clinically dead" if the machine was maintaining the heartbeat all that time.

I can't prove it, but I suspect sloppy journalism. You can't deprive the brain of oxygen for an hour, that's not going to work.

Here is an interesting discussion of "clinical death" vs. "brain death." Basically they are saying that clinical death is the stopping of heart and lung function.

So, as I understand it, the machines took the place of his heart and his lungs for an hour, and then the doctors were able to revive him. In other words, his heart wasn't actually beating, and his lungs weren't actually breathing. So he's clinically dead, but not dead dead, since the machine is getting oxygen to his brain.

Saint Croix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sorun said...

Is there a time threshold where being brought back to life makes you a zombie, or is zombiism a behavioral thing?

Saint Croix said...

many have proposed that life be defined as cognitive area brain function

That's fine, although it's likely you will bury some "dead" people and they will wake up in a coffin. And of course what you propose is not the law, anywhere.

My point has never been that states must recognize total brain death as the best possible rule. It's up to the people of the state to pick the rule they want for themselves.

We have laws in place in regard to when people die. I once did a paper on it. Something like 46 states have brain death statutes, and the other 4 states had brain death caselaw. Clearly brain death has replaced heart-and-lung function as the relevant criteria. (Which is why we can and do have organ transplants in all 50 states).

Of course states are free to change their rules. The Constitution says nothing about when people die, or what constitutes a homicide. But the Constitution does insist that every person is entitled to the same rule of law. Our death statutes are obviously relevant to the abortion dispute, and should be applied to make sure we're not commiting an infanticide.

As to whether it's appropriate for our authorities to define babies as sub-human property, of course the answer is no.

Saint Croix said...

Here is a horrible case of a boy who is pronounced dead and then wakes up at his own funeral.

Saint Croix said...

Here is the horror story with a happy ending of a guy who is presumed dead, and locked up in a morgue refrigerator.

Saint Croix said...

Mistakes were made.

Dante said...

Saint Croix:

You can deprive the brain of oxygen for an hour, but probably only in infants, and in extreme cases of young children in very cold waters.

True story: I was on a plane flying out of Sydney to LA, and it lost an engine. I had the opportunity to talk with one of the original team doctors that created the coronary bypass.

He told me when they lost fifty patients in a row, he was ready to quit. He also told me you can not use a heart/lung machine on infants, and you have to chill them. You have 60 minutes to perform the surgery, and the lawyers are in the waiting room.

Ann, your brain can't survive without oxygen for more than four minutes without damage. That's it, then all the neural connections that you have created over your years, your understanding of Gatsby, Art, everything, start to break down. Even if you come back, you won't be quite the same.

Paddy O said...

Dr. Sam Parnia, a resuscitation specialist, was making the rounds a few months ago. He had some very interesting things to say about death and what happens to the body afterwards. Interesting in light of this article.

William said...

If I'm dead for forty minutes, I would just as soon remain dead. I hope death doesn't become as fuzzy and incremental as conception with doctors snipping my spinal column.

Nini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nini said...

Saint Croix: I think what they mean is that their hearts stopped beating for an hour.

I would have thought if your heart stopped beating for an hour, there's a good chance your brain would be dead too, as the brain appears to accumulate ischemic injury faster than any other organ.

Wiki says: Without special treatment after circulation is restarted, full recovery of the brain after more than 3 minutes of clinical death (cessation of blood circulation) at normal body temperature is rare.

Maybe the doctor-commenters here can educate me if I am wrong.

Nini said...

Is this a credible source? It looks weirdly like an ad.

Sure, maybe it's an ad.

I agree the article does not explain much.

News.com.au is owned by the group of Rupert Murdoch. Is Fox News credible?

sabeth.chu said...

Does nobody read E. A. Poe no more?

Never more!

Larry J said...

From the articles I've read, when someone goes into cardiac arrest, the medical staff does standard CPR while others connect the patient to the machines. Once connected, they can keep the brain alive indefinitely while attempting to repair the problem. The machines maintain oxygenated blood flow to the brain and other organs.

In one article, the doctor said that the US success rate for standard CPR is about 16% while the rate using the machines is about 38%. Applied nationwide, this could save thousands of lives each year in the US alone. In one case in Japan, a young woman was revived aftr 7 hours on the machines.

Saint Croix said...

Thanks for the link, Paddy, and for the correction Dante!

Here's an amazing story of a woman who was clinically dead for over an hour. Her body was so cold her brain stayed alive. And they constantly used CPR on her until they got her to the hospital.

Saint Croix said...

I am glad I know now what "clinical death" means, but now that I think about it I object to the term. We should stop confusing people. You're not dead until complete and irreversible brain death.

What this area could use is one of Justice Scalia's "bright-line tests," but unfortunately Mr. Scalia has checked out and is unavailable for comment.

The next time Justice Scalia goes for a public speech anywhere, please, please, please, somebody ask him to define a "person" for us.

Peter said...

'Saint Croix' said, " can't prove it, but I suspect sloppy journalism. You can't deprive the brain of oxygen for an hour, that's not going to work.

Indeed, "sloppy journalism" seems to be the norm when it comes to reporting on any sort of hard science. After all, journalism majors may have taken some sort of "science for liberal arts majors" course, but usually that's about it.

You'd think that major media outlets could at least afford to hire a hard-science grad student or two to review and perhaps edit hard-science stories, but they just don't. The result is mish-mash stores and, occasionally, howlers.

In any case, I'd agree that the key here is O2 to the blood, and at least some blood circulation by artifical means. No oxygen ==> irreversible changes == > The End.

Dante said...

Peter: I was about to say the same thing last night about journalists. And I don't even think it's merely science, it's logic.

Journalists ought to be required to take some real math so they don't write things that don't make sense.

TerriW said...

Indeed, "sloppy journalism" seems to be the norm when it comes to reporting on any sort of hard science.

The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect strikes again. And again. And again.

Somebody said...
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