Alcor Case Summary: A-1356

by Tanya Jones

From Alcor News #48, February 23, 2006

After an extended battle with malignant melanoma, member A-1356 suffered sudden cardiac arrest at her home in southern California, a little more than twelve hours before a scheduled air ambulance trip to Arizona and local hospice care. A single team member and equipment were on hand at the moment of arrest and an abbreviated emergency stabilization protocol was begun immediately. Two other team members arrived shortly thereafter to assist. Once partial meds and some initial cooling was done, the patient was transported to a local facility for the blood washout portion of the procedure. Because the cardiac arrest occurred 15 minutes after the Office of Vital Statistics closed, the team had to wait until the next morning to obtain the paperwork needed to transport the patient across state lines; but the patient was ready for the trip when clearance came.

Cryoprotection began shortly after the patient arrived at the Alcor facility, and the target concentrations were achieved before the procedure concluded. Some edema was observed, but this was not sufficient to halt the procedure. We saw good bilateral symmetry in the uptake of the cryoprotectant. Cooling proceeded in accordance with the whole-body protocol, and six fracture events were detected during the descent to liquid nitrogen temperature.

Though this case did not quite proceed in the manner we'd hoped (we preferred the patient to be in Arizona), we ultimately achieved good results given the difficult circumstances. We continue to be pleased with the properties of the new cryoprotectant and with the response of regional team members in emergency situations.

Member A-1356 has become Alcor's 73rd patient.

From Alcor News #49, March 10, 2006

Some further details on last month's case: On February 6, 2006, we were preparing for the cryopreservation of member A-1356. She was to be transported via air ambulance to Arizona, but her heart stopped before the flight time. The southern California remote kit was nearby her, as were Alcor team members in rotation as a precautionary measure. Unfortunately, her decline occurred extremely rapidly. Upon pronouncement, only one team member was on site. He administered and circulated some of the stabilization medications and began surface cooling. Once additional team members arrived, the patient was sent to a local facility for blood washout.

Because of the timing, we were unable to transport the patient to Alcor until the next morning. Her heart stopped about 15 minutes after the Department of Vital Statistics closed, and the county did not have provisions for after-hours access. Our cooperating funeral director worked with the family to ensure the paperwork was prepared for immediate submission in the morning, including driving to the physician's home to obtain a signature on the death certificate. Unfortunately, he filed for the wrong permit. This error cost an additional three hours in transit time.

When the patient, a whole-body, arrived at the Alcor facility in Scottsdale, the open heart surgery was completed in short order. Cryoprotection began 75 minutes after her arrival. It continued through terminal concentrations, with the arterial, venous and burrhole samples being in close agreement.

Cooling was carried out in accordance with standard protocols, and the patient appeared to experience six cracking events during the temperature descent. She was transferred to a patient care dewar on February 23, 2006, and became Alcor's 73rd patient.