Underused technology holds great promise
Research continues to demonstrate the positive role of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) in treating out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients.
In the July 12, 2011 issue of Circulation, Michael Mooney, et al. from Minneapolis Heart Institute and Northwestern University in Chicago published data on 140 consecutive OHCA patients who were treated and transferred to a central therapeutic hypothermia-capable hospital.
Patients were initially cooled in the ambulances or referring hospitals with ice packs and then transferred to the central hospital where they were further cooled and maintained at 33°C (92°F) for 24 hours with the Arctic Sun device (Medivance, Louisville, CO).
An impressive 92% of patients showed a positive neurological recovery. 56% of patients survived to hospital discharge. Furthermore, there was a 20% increase risk of death for every hour of delay in cooling initiation.
It seems starting with simple ice packs in the ambulance or referring hospital paired with subsequent advanced rapid cooling methods may make the difference in a patient’s outcome.
This underutilized therapy for OHCA is slowly finding its way into clinical care across the U.S.
Authors conclude that a comprehensive TH protocol can be integrated into a regional ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction network and achieves broad dispersion of this essential therapy for OHCA.