July 13th, 2011

Therapeutic Hypothermia Network Provides Benefit to Cardiac Arrest Patients

Previous studies have shown that therapeutic hypothermia (TH) improves outcomes in patients who have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). In a new paper published in Circulation, Michael Mooney and colleagues report on their experience with 140 OHCA patients in Minnesota who received treatment within a regional network of care that transfers OHCA patients to a TH-capable hospital. Prior to arrival at the specialized TH center, patients are cooled with ice bags.

More than half of the patients (56%) survived to hospital discharge. Of these, 92% had a positive neurological outcome. The risk of death increased by 20% for each hour of delay to the start of cooling. Outcomes were similar whether patients were transferred to a TH-capable hospital or were originally treated at a TH-capable hospital. “What our data show is if you have a cardiac arrest 200 miles away or on our doorstep, the quality of the outcomes is identical,” said Mooney in an AHA press release.

The authors report that they were able to successfully achieve concurrent TH with PCI for MI patients without a delay in either procedure. They conclude that TH “can provide an effective rescue therapy for OHCA and should be readily adopted within the context of existing STEMI networks.”

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