New Surgical Technique

From: Linda Chamberlain (
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 16:07:58 MDT

[Non-member submission]

>Can anyone give a more detailed description of the new surgical techniques
>being used? I am not familiar.
>>From: Brian D Williams <>

>>Subject: CRYONICS: FM-2030's suspension
>>Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 07:26:10 -0700 (PDT)

Up to now, for cryoprotection Alcor has cannulated the heart, via median
sternotomy (open chest surgery). This was more difficult than cannulating
the carotid arteries, but absolutely necessary to make sure that the brain
was well perfused. Even if both carotids are cannulated, only the front
half of the brain is likely to be perfused in a large percentage of the
population. This is due to the fact that about 20% of the population does
not have an intact Circle of Willis (vessels that feed other vessels in the
brain, leading to complete brain perfusion). In cryotransport patients,
the percentage is likely to be far higher (according to the neurosurgeon
that works with Alcor) due to the fact that elderly, diseased patients are
more likely to have atherosclerosis or aneurisms causing damage to this
rather small and delicate structure.

Because Alcor does not want to subject any of its patients to a large
probability of not having a good perfusion and protection for the brain,
the median sternotomy has been used. By cannulating the heart, blood goes
to the brain up both carotids and both vertebral arteries, making an intact
Circle of Willis unnecessary for complete perfusion of the brain.

Up until now, we have had no choice but to cannulate the heart in order to
perfuse the brain through both carotids and vertebrals. This was the case
because cannulating the vertebrals seemed impossible (they run through the
vertebra, thus their name). Due to (1) the surgical skills of Dr.
Kanshepolsky, retired neurosurgeon on Alcor's team, and (2) the need to
produce a more efficient surgical route for the new vitirification
procedures coming on line (we hope within months) for neuro patients, Alcor
has pioneered a new surgical procedure that allows highly skilled surgeons
to do a four-point cannulation (both carotids and both vertebrals) that
promises (if the results of the cryoprotection seen with FM-2030 are any
indication) to give far superior cryoprotection of the brain than we have
been able to deliver before.

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