In 1987, a patent for "keeping a head alive" was issued to Chet Fleming (U.S. No. 4,666,425). A cabinet provides physical and biochemical support for an animal's head severed from its body.
Oxygenated blood and nutrients are circulated by means of tubes connected to arteries and veins that emerge from the neck. A series of processing components removes carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the blood. If desired, waste products and other metabolites may be removed from the blood, and nutrients, therapeutic or experimental drugs, anti-coagulants, and other substances may be added to the blood.
After being thoroughly tested on research animals, the patent suggests it might also be used on humans suffering from various terminal illnesses. From Today In Science History.