American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
October 14th, 2009
10:45 AM ET

Cheating Death: Suspended animation for soldiers

Program Note: Join Dr. Sanjay Gupta as he examines the medical miracles that are saving lives in the face of death on “Cheating Death,” Sat. & Sun. 8 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Cheating Death
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Matthew Filler

    Dr. Gupta, I applaud your teaching people how to do CPR via television. I assume that you are not telling people how to get trained (by the Red Cross) because you feel that isn't really necessary. I agree, although some people would be more confident in using it, or remember it better, if they did get Red Cross training (Google "Red Cross CPR training")

    I suspect your explanation about the oxygen left in the body being good for 8 minutes will be disproved by people lasting longer than that on this method, if their airway is clear. Around 1970, as a Civil Air Patrol cadet, I was trained in 2 forms of artificial respiration. No heart treatment was allowed back then, unless you were a Doctor. But in addition to mouth-to-mouth, we were taught a second method to expand and relax the chest with arm motions, in case there was a problem with doing mouth-to-mouth, such as an oral injury.

    Ever since I learned how to do CPR (without formal training, based mostly on my brother's experience actually using it as a hospital Triage officer and then Medical Student), I have wondered why the breath is needed. When you compress the chest, in addition to expelling blood from the heart, you also expel some of the air that is the lungs. When the chest relaxes back, air is of necessity sucked back in, just as blood flows back into the heart.

    While this is less efficient at providing Oxygen than either of the CPR techniques in which I was trained, with 100 CPM it probably provides more Oxygen than people typically get when breathing shallowly. Don't people who start panting at a rate like 100 breaths per minute usually end up "hyper-ventilating", or getting too much Oxygen?

    I challenge you to ask some of the researchers in emergency medicine to look into this.

    October 18, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  2. Larry Roeder

    Dr. Gupta,

    This is an excellent report on suspended animation; but a couple of questions. Is there a time limit? If a person had brain cancer, could he or she be put under suspended animation for years - until a cure comes along? What about aging? Waiting for a cure could be a long wait. Does the body age under suspended animation? Slower? At all? Such a thing might also be useful for long distance transport between planets and stars, reducing the need for oxygen and food on a long distance flight, thus also reducing the need for the size of the ship.


    Larry Winter Roeder, Jr., MS

    October 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  3. Sylvia

    I had an experience a few weeks ago. I was asleep and I started decending into the sky. I could see and touch the clouds. I was talking to someone and my breathing got shallow and I remember my chest was hurting really bad. Felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. I remember constanly stating: No Jesus its to soon my children still needs me I can't go yet its to soon. and then I started coming back down to earth. It looked and felt like a plane landing. The clouds started clearing and I could see the ground as I was coming down. I was able to breath again and the chest pain had stopped. When I woke up I felt like I had been working out for hours. My body was so weak I could barely make it to the bathroom. I have never expereince anything like that before in my life. I do believe I was dieing or even dead but my prayers and begging brought me back.

    October 17, 2009 at 9:10 am |

    I believe Senator Snowe of Maine, is speaking from the heart and not the party she represents. Others, democrats & republicans can take a lesson and speak for the people and not there pocketbooks.

    October 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm |

    i have cheated death, after a angioplastie procedure i flat lined for 30 seconds, came out and flat lined again for another 30 seconds.

    October 14, 2009 at 11:09 am |