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Cooling treatment after cardiac arrest is cost-effective, Penn study shows
Date:8/5/2009

(PHILADELPHIA) A brain-preserving cooling treatment called therapeutic hypothermia is a cost-effective way to improve outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, which claims the lives of more than 300,000 people each year in the United States and leaves thousands of others neurologically devastated. The treatment, which lowers body temperature to prevent damage to the brain and other major organs when blood flow is restored to the body following cardiac arrest, is considered a good value when compared to many other accepted and widely utilized medical treatments, including dialysis for kidney failure or complex heart surgeries, according to new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research published this week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"Having already established that hypothermia improves neurological outcomes after cardiac arrest, we now know that the therapy is also a good use of health care resources," says lead author Raina M. Merchant, MD, MS, an emergency physician and Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Penn Medicine. "We hope our findings will help more hospitals and insurers to adopt cooling protocols and help more survivors return to productive lives."

Despite national recommendations established in 2005 calling for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to be treated with hypothermia when they remain comatose after resuscitation, many hospitals still don't offer the intervention. Among barriers to its use: Concerns about its cost, and difficulty coordinating the interdisciplinary resources and staff needed to employ the treatment. Merchant and her colleagues used a complex mathematical design to measure quality-adjusted survival after cardiac arrest, cost of hypothermia equipment and treatment, and cost of post-hospital discharge care. Factors affecting costs included additional nursing care required during cooling treatment, extra time spent in the intensive care unit and post
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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