✓ The potential for hypothermia to prevent or ameliorate ischemic injury to the central nervous system is well known. To determine if a more prolonged period of metabolic suppression with blood substitution is possible, a method was developed to lower body temperature to near the freezing point. Eight adult mongrel dogs underwent closed-chest extracorporeal circulation with both external and internal body cooling. As they were cooled, progressive hemodilution was employed until complete exsanguination and blood substitution with an aqueous solution was accomplished. Continuous circulation and a core temperature at a mean of 1.7°C were maintained from 2½ to 3 hours. After rewarming to 20°C, the animals were autotransfused and allowed to recover. Of the eight animals, two died due to technical factors related to cardiac defibrillation. Of the six surviving animals, five survived over a long period and one died on the 10th postoperative day with hepatorenal failure resulting from a presumed blood transfusion incompatability reaction. All six showed normal neurological function and kennel behavior, except one dog with mild weakness of a hindlimb. When the dogs were sacrificed 1 to 2 months postoperatively, all organs were histologically normal. Specifically, there was no gross or microscopic evidence of ischemic or hypoxic injury to any central nervous system structures.
This pilot study demonstrates that it is possible to successfully achieve complete exsanguination, blood substitution, and ultraprofound body temperature, while continuous circulation of the blood substitute is maintained. With the capability of controlling and repeatedly performing washout of the extracellular environment and by reaching lower temperatures, it may be possible to attain greater cellular metabolic suppression. This perhaps will extend the allowable times for circulatory arrest procedures. In addition, “bloodless ischemia” may be beneficial in removing both blood substances and formed elements which may mediate organ ischemia. With replacement of blood at warm temperatures, coagulopathy is avoided. This preliminary evidence demonstrates potential in the combination of ultraprofound hypothermia and complete blood component substitution. However, further study is required to confirm the potential of achieving circulatory arrest of longer duration.