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Body Temperature May Matter After Cardiac Arrest
Date:11/7/2012

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Lowering the body temperature of people who have been resuscitated following cardiac arrest may increase their chances of survival, according to a new study.

Researchers also found that cooling cardiac arrest patients could result in greater brain function and the ability to perform normal daily tasks, such as bathing and dressing, after recovery.

During cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops working. If a person's heartbeat is restored but they are comatose, treatment may include lowering the patients' body temperature in an attempt to decrease the amount of oxygen they need, to prevent brain damage. In conducting the study, the researchers sought to determine the ideal cooling temperature, which would provide the best outcomes for cardiac arrest patients.

"Since extremely low temperatures below [86 degrees Fahrenheit] are associated with complications, it's critical to know the optimal level of cooling," lead researcher Dr. Esteban Lopez-de-Sa, head of the Cardiac Critical Care Unit and Clinical Cardiology at La Paz University Hospital in Madrid, Spain, explained in a news release from the American Heart Association (AHA). "The aim of the study was to provide initial information for future research about whether controlling hypothermia levels can improve outcome."

The study involved 36 people in Madrid who suffered cardiac arrest outside of the hospital between March 2008 and August 2011. On average, the patients were 64 years old, and 89 percent were men. All of the participants were white.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive cooling treatment to either 89.6 degrees or 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours. The patients were cooled internally with cold saline that was administered through an IV. An internal catheter and temperature-management system also was inserted directly into the main vein from the lower body to the heart. This treatment was foll
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