The potential value of hypothermia for surgical procedures necessitating extracorporeal exclusion of the heart, as well as other conditions in which reduced oxygen requirement of tissues would be advantageous, is well recognized. Unfortunately, accounts concerning the application of this procedure in both humans and the experimental animal indicate that it is hazardous and unpredictable, resulting in death in an alarming number of instances. Despite numerous investigations related to physiologic processes during the hypothermic state, little information has been disclosed which might be conclusively interpreted as responsible for such failures.
Anatomical investigations, similarly, have failed to reveal alterations which might be directly related to the fatalities encountered. In addition, results of morphologic studies have been largely contradictory. Early investigators were impressed with the lack of overt morphologic change associated with hypothermia. Sano and Smith1 observed focal pancreatic necrosis in 10% of patients subjected to this procedure in the treatment of