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Resuscitation. 2006 Aug;70(2):254-62. Epub 2006 Jul 10.

Body temperature management after severe traumatic brain injury: methods and protocols used in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Hope Hospital, and University of Manchester, Salford, UK.



To establish whether there is consensus in the management of body temperature in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) admitted to hospitals in the United Kingdom and Ireland for neurosurgical intensive care.


Permission was granted from the Society of British Neurosurgeons (SBNS) and the Local Research Ethics Committee to undertake the survey. A senior member of nursing staff from all adult neurosurgical units, excluding our own, was contacted by telephone.


All 33 adult neurosurgical centres participated. Six units had a formal written protocol for the management of body temperature. For the remainder (27 units), interest was expressed in a protocol for temperature management particularly for those patients with intractable hyperthermia/fever. Administration of the antipyretic paracetamol was the most common 'first-line' treatment (13 units). Other 'first-line' methods were: circulating air-cooling blankets (9 units), water-filled cooling blankets (6 units), tepid sponging or wet soaks (2 units), convection fans (2 units) and administration of cold fluids via the gut or circulation (1 unit). When 'first-line' methods failed to bring about a fall in temperature, different combinations of these methods were used.


From this survey, it is evident that there is no consensus in the approach to temperature management in neurosurgical intensive care patients with severe TBI. Review and rationalisation of systems of care may be required in an effort to develop evidence-based nationwide guidelines.

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