Suspended Animation


The condition of suspended animation is also known as a state of hibernation in animals and a dormant state in the case of seeds. This condition is majorly used in therapeutic interventions that support the ceasing of the crucial functions within the body of organisms. This treatment is useful for patients who are having slow functional organs with injuries that are traumatic in nature. The traumatic injuries include stab wounds and gunshots. However, doctors initiate such programs when they feel that in normal conditions the patient would not survive.

What is Defined as Suspended Animation?

The condition of suspended animation is stated as a temporary condition that can be long or short, that tends to slow down or stopping of the essential biological functionalities. This is done for the preservation of the capabilities that are physiological in nature. However, the condition of suspended animation can be hypo metabolic or it can also be a metabolic. More to this, the condition may be induced in several ways: endogenous, physical or chemical means, artificial ways or natural ways that constitute biological means.

Hibernating bear and cub

In this specific state, the human body remains in an unconscious state, and the functions slows down. In simple words it is similar to how animals survive in extremely cold temperatures, such as when bears go into hibernation. Therefore, it can be stated that the body is inactive or not working actively, however, the essential functionalities to survival is still going on. If not, then the animals will die.

How does this Phenomenon of Suspended Animation Take Place?

  • The phenomenon of suspended animation is conducted by doctors on patients by pumping ice cold saline into the body directly.

  • This pumping is done through the cannula that is inserted within the aorta directly.

  • However, this state is deep and induces hypothermic preservation, that is conducted at a temperature that is around -10 to -15 o C.

  • In this condition with the support of exothermic or endothermic means, the body is taken into the state of suspended animation without termination of the bodily functions.

Suspended Animation in Seeds

The state of suspended animations occurs in both plants and animals. However, in plants it is the condition when the seed is enclosed in the state of a matured embryo. This condition of suspended animation tends to stay on until and unless the seed germinates into a plant with its active functionalities.

The condition of suspended animation occurs because of the varied physiological stages of the embryo that exists within the seed. When the seeds get favourable conditions for their growth then they herald into an active plant with its surviving functionalities. The state of suspended animation is known as quiescence or also called as dormancy period.

What are the Proposed Medical Procedures for Suspended Animation?

This procedure is said to be applied in patients that suffer from deep injuries for example a stab or gunshots. This is because this victim might lose their pulse and might suffer from cardiac arrest and they may get back their pulse if they are treated through suspended animation.

The unique condition of suspended animation procedure is conducted through a process that includes the following steps −

  • A tube that is large is connected to the aorta directly.

  • Solutions of cold salt is given as the brain cannot survive without blood flow and oxygen for more than 5 minutes.

  • The solution is swapped with the blood that is remaining in the victim’s body.

  • This results in giving time to repair the traumatic injuries that the patients survived through.

Difference Between Death and Suspended Animation

Unique differences lie between the conditions of death and that of suspended animations. Death determines the permanent cessation of the survival functionalities within the body.

From this condition, the patient cannot survive, whereas, the suspended animation relies on a therapeutic treatment that is known to be clinical death, where the activities of the brain and heart remain active.


In this tutorial, the focus has been given to making an understanding of the condition of suspended animation. This condition is utilised in the field of medicine and treatment, as this is a therapeutic intervention that is done when patients suffer from deep wounds and has no survival chances under normal conditions.


Q1. Do humans go into the condition stated as stasis?

Ans. Records state that the human can be in the condition of stasis, and can remain so for two to four days. It has been even seen that the doctor kept the patient in this condition for a period of two weeks without any complexities.

Q2. What is the condition of hyper sleep?

Ans. The condition of hyper sleep is seen to be existent only in science fiction and is stated to be referred to as the suspended animation form, where the functionalities of the human body are noticed to have ceased completely.

Q3. For how long, human body is stated to have survived the condition of suspended animation?

Ans. In the condition of suspended animation, the human body is said to survive for only for a few minutes without external help. The reason is because the brain cannot function or survive without the flow of oxygen into it and can sustain about an approximation of only 5 minutes. If the time exceeds then irreversible damage happens.

Updated on: 24-Apr-2023


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