Alcor Cryopreserves 80th Patient

Over the weekend, Alcor completed an unusual non-confidential, last-minute case: the cryopreservation of Rose Selkovitch, A-2340. Rose was nearly 102 years old at the time of her cryopreservation.

Because of the last-minute nature of this case, Rose passed away as the standby team was still en route to her Escondido, California location on 29 March 2008. The transport vehicle had been deployed from Arizona with two team members and a member of the southern California team drove down. Due to advance negotiations, a dose of heparin was administered by hospice personnel after her pronouncement at approximately 20:30, chest compressions performed to circulate, and she was packed in ice upon pronouncement of legal death. By the time, the standby team and the funeral director were on-site, the cannulations completed and the washout ready to begin, Rose’s temperature was at 6 degrees C. An equipment problem and concerns about pumping the warmer blood from her chest cavity into her brain (which would warm it up significantly) contributed to a decision to not do a washout in California, but instead begin transport to Arizona for cryoprotection.

Transit paperwork was received in a timely fashion, and the transport concluded without incident. The surgery revealed that Rose had extremely large carotid arteries, and our surgeon suspected there was an aneurysm deeper in the carotid on the right side. Nevertheless, the blood washout went extremely well, resulting in a hematocrit reading that was undetectable. Cryoprotection began at 19:34 on 30 March and concluded at 00:33. Target concentrations of cryoprotectant were achieved in the brain, and first-stage cooling was begun shortly thereafter.

Support from hospice personnel and the local funeral home were instrumental in this case going well. Being just five weeks shy of her 102nd birthday makes Rose the oldest cryopreserved patient at Alcor today. She is our 80th patient.