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Potentially life-saving cooling treatment rarely used for in-hospital cardiac arrests
Date:6/21/2013

89.6 degrees after cardiac arrest protects it against neurological damage initiated by the lack of blood flow and oxygenation, several studies of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients have shown. It has also been shown to improve survival--a welcome development, since cardiac arrest survival statistics remain grim, with less than 10 percent of patients surviving in most cities across the U.S.

More than 300,000 people who go into cardiac arrest out of the hospital die each people each year in the United States; thousands of others are left neurologically devastated.

About 210,000 patients a year go into cardiac arrest while in the hospital--many of those patients may have other conditions that point to a poor prognosis, and a substantial portion may be terminally ill patients who are not candidates for hypothermia.

National recommendations established in 2005 call for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients to be treated with hypothermia when they remain comatose after resuscitation. In-hospital recommendations, however, are less direct. The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation guidelines recommend providers to "consider its use," while the American Heart Association recommends that therapeutic hypothermia "may be considered" for a patient who goes into cardiac arrest caused by non-shockable rhythms.

For the study, the team analyzed treatments of 67,498 patients at 538 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines-Resuscitation database from 2003 to 2009. Of those patients, 1,367 patients were given therapeutic hypothermia. The use of therapeutic hypothermia increased slightly, from 0.7 percent in 2003 to 3.3 percent in 2009.

Younger patients and patients who were treated in a non-ICU location and a teaching hospital were more likely to get therapeutic hypothermia. Even when it was used, however, target temperature (32-34o Celsius, or 89.6-93.2 degrees Fahrenheit ) was n
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Contact: Steve Graff
stephen.graff@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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