Cooling Patients in Cardiac Arrest Improves Outcomes

Nutrition Health Review, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

Cooling Patients in Cardiac Arrest Improves Outcomes


A broad, regional system to lower the temperature of resuscitated cardiac arrest patients at a centrally located hospital was found to improve outcomes. The cooling treatment (therapeutic hypothermia) is effective yet underused, researchers said.

A network of first responders, emergency medical service (EMS) departments, and more than 30 independent hospitals within 200 miles of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Abbott Northwestern Hospital collaborated to implement the protocol.

"We've shown that a fully integrated system of care, from EMS through hospital discharge, can provide this essential therapy to victims Of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest across a broad geographic region," said Michael Mooney, M.D., Director of the therapeutic hypothermia program at Minneapolis Heart Institute, where the protocol was developed.

Researchers tracked 140 patients who had experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest between February 2006 and August 2009. Although their heartbeat and circulation were restored within an hour of collapse, the patients remained unresponsive. Ice packs were used to begin the cooling process, which started during initial EMS transport to the hospital and in the emergency departments of the network hospitals. One hundred forty patients were admitted to Abbott Northwestern Hospitals for therapeutic hypothermia and re-warming; 107 of these patients were transferred from other hospitals.

Over three to four hours, the patients' core body temperature was lowered to about 92 degrees Fahrenheit and was maintained at that temperature for about 24 hours. …

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