It's a Cool Idea: Save Lives by Injecting Ice

Slush could buy critical time, but it's no Slurpee


Ted Gregory | | Monday, November 24, 2008

CHICAGO -- Ken Kasza chuckles right along with wisecrackers who keep comparing his potentially breakthrough medical work to a Slurpee.

There is a fundamental difference. Cherry, grape and cola-flavored slush promotes brain freeze. Kasza's protective hypothermia may save lives.

"Some people make it sound like you could go to the 7-Eleven and buy it," said Kasza, a senior engineer at Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont. "But there is a subtle difference, and that makes all the difference."

The ice slurry system Kasza and a team from Argonne and the University of Chicago are developing can inject an ice and saline slush directly to organs, cooling those organs. Reducing an organ's temperature lowers its demand for oxygen and reduces the speed with which it deteriorates during trauma. That buys critical, even life-saving, time for surgeons working on patients in emergencies.

Kasza's team has figured out how to shrink ice and smooth its jagged edges, allowing it to flow almost as easily as water through a minuscule catheter.

Experiments on a 110-pound swine in 2000 showed that the slurry dropped the temperature of the animal's heart and brain more than 20 times faster than conventional, external cooling methods. More recently, the team successfully cooled a swine's kidney and is now working on the spine, Kasza said.

Humans may not be far behind. Clinical trials to cool human kidneys may begin in a year.

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Trauma

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS


Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

PulsePoint PSA, San Diego

App will allow trained San Diego residents to respond to nearby cardiac arrest c
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

California Beach Lightning Strike MCI

More than a dozen injured in Venice Beach lighting strike.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

New Item on Iowa Helicopter Helps Save Patient’s Life

Supply of blood recently added to LifeFlight helicopter.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Shooting Inside Pennsylvania Hospital

Early reports of one person dead in Darby hospital.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

More Product Videos >