The Cryonics Institute’s 71st Patient: By Ben Best
The 71st patient of the Cryonics Institute was John Connole who has been a Member of CI since 1991. He deanimated about noon on December 22, 2005 in Nevada. John was at one time our Contracts Officer (the person who verifies that Member contracts are completed properly -- a position now held by Connie Ettinger). John worked in the Aerospace Industry before he retired. He was 84 years old at the time of his deanimation. His condition has been critical for the last few months. The previous week we had been told he would last 5-10 days and his wife phone two days ago to say that he would probably not last more than a day. He was given heparin, some CPS (CardioPulmonary Support -- "Resuscitation" was not an objective) and ice was packed around his head immediately after a speedy pronouncement of death. We began our work on him at our funeral director's at 9am on the morning of December 23rd.
This is less a case report than a few notes of unique or new features concerning the case. Otherwise there was little difference in the protocol than that seen for CI's 69th patient or CI's 72nd patient. The 69th patient was the first patient in which we attempted cannulation of both the carotids and vertebrals, and in that case our funeral director cut the clavicle. In this case he found that he did not need to cut the clavicle, so we have dispensed with that additional operation.
During the perfusion we attempted to use an endoscope to better see brain tissue close to the burr holes in the skull. This proved to be of no value, and in fact more difficult than looking with the naked eye. Also during the perfusion we attempted to monitor patient temperature with our Compact FieldPoint and LabVIEW software computer. One thermocouple probe was placed behind the right eyeball and another was placed deep in the nose. During the whole perfusion temperature rose from 6ºC to 8ºC. Although it was useful to do this once, if we do future monitoring, it will only be with a small thermometer. Temperature is kept stable at a reasonable level through the operation because of the thermal mass of the patient and because of the cold perfusate that is used for perfusion.For cooling with our computer-controlled cooling box we placed temperature probes in the throat, at the base of the right eyeball and deep in the nose. We used the temperature probe deep in the throat as the controlling thermocouple. This proved to be a mistake. The cooling box brought the temperature of the controlling thermocouple down to −130ºC in eight hours, but the probe deep in the nose showed a temperature drop to below −175ºC and the eyeball probe showed a temperature drop to about −190ºC during the same eight hours. The throat temperature is too much like body temperature. It took forty hours for the three temperatures to approximate each other at around −150ºC during the 4 day slow cooling phase.
I had been thinking that a less superficial probe would reduce volatility, but the cost of reduced volatility is reduced sensitivity. This is a difficult trade-off which is being resolved as we do more work. It should also be noted that we decided not to use the cooling-box fan in this case because we did not think that it makes much difference.