Pumping coolant into the nose right away seems to prevent brain damage, study finds
SUNDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Rapid cooling of heart attack patients may boost their chance of survival without brain damage, Swedish researchers report.
They examined the use of a device called RhinoChill, which cools the brains of heart attack patients during ongoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). RhinoChill is a non-invasive device that pumps coolant into a patient's nose.
The study, funded by device maker BeneChill, Inc., included 182 patients -- 83 who who received nasal cooling and 99 who received standard care. The median time between cardiac arrest onset and the start of cooling was 23 minutes. On arrival at hospital, the average body temperature of cooled patients was 34.2 degrees C (93.56 degrees F), compared with 35.5 degrees C (95.9 degrees F) for standard care patients.
The study found that:
Eighteen adverse events were reported after nasal cooling, including three nosebleeds and 13 nasal discolorations. Normal color returned to all patients who survived. Serious adverse events, such as seizure or repeat cardiac arrest, occurred in seven cooled patients and 14 standard care patients.
"We now have a method that is safe and can be started within minutes of cardiac arrest to minimize (brain) damage during this very critical period," study lead author Dr. Maaret Castren, professor of emergency medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in a news release.
"Our results show that the earlier you can do the cooling, the better. When resuscitation efforts were delayed, there was no significant difference in survival," Castren said.
The study was to be presented Nov. 15 at an American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
The American Heart Association has more about heart attacks.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 15, 2009
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