Case Summary: A-1831

From Alcor News, May 19, 2008

by Tanya Jones

In March, 2008, Alcor performed a thirteen-day standby in Florida for a member (A-1831) who suffered a massive heart attack while sitting in a hospital lobby. His wife was having surgery, and he ended up requiring admission himself. Over the course of those nearly two weeks, that member went through three separate surgeries. Those surgeries left his heart in improved condition, but the member had become dependent on ventilator support.

While Alcor was initially deploying from Arizona, the staff of Suspended Animation stood by at the hospital. They provided us with their still-under-construction transport vehicle, so that we would have the means to take the patient to the local funeral home for blood washout. We chose to deploy our new stabilization kit, rather than the one we have stored in the SA facility, because we thought it an excellent opportunity to test the new design, especially knowing that we had a backup in the other kit in case we forgot something critical. We borrowed SA’s ice bath (for use in a moving vehicle) and gas cylinders to power our thumper, though we ultimately lacked compatible connectors to power our device. Though the stabilization kit was not needed, we were satisfied with the composition of the new kit (with that one exception) and believe it would have allowed quality care had our member required stabilization at that time.

Upon release from the cardiac care unit, A-1831 was transferred to a long-term care facility. He remained on a ventilator, and complicating health factors made medical personnel unwilling to attempt removing him from the vent. Periodic attempts were made to wean him at the new facility, but all were ultimately unsuccessful. A brief deployment was again necessary mid-April, but the member recovered slightly once again.

On May 10 at 19:00, we received a call from hospital personnel that the member had taken a turn for the worse, and that they were calling his family as well. We contacted SA and made our own arrangements to deploy additional personnel for the standby and stabilization, but the member suffered cardiac arrest a short 45 minutes later. SA personnel completed a stabilization protocol consisting of surface cooling, medications, and cardiopulmonary support. The patient was transported to Arizona the following day for cryoprotection.

He arrived in the facility at 20:15 the next day (nearly thirty hours after his pronouncement), which to date matches the longest transit time we have seen prior to successful vitrification. Though we were a little bit concerned about the potential for swelling of the brain (edema) during cryoprotection, we proceeded with the standard protocol. We did see some edema early in the cryoprotection, but it was limited and relatively minor compared to other cases we have seen in the past. The procedure as a whole went quite smoothly, with no problems at all. Target concentrations were achieved, and cryoprotection concluded at 02:05 on 12 May. First-stage cooling started fifteen minutes later, and all cooling concluded without incident.

A-1831 is Alcor’s 82nd patient.