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Neurocrit Care. 2008;8(1):31-5.

Intravascular temperature control system to maintain normothermia in organ donors.

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  • 1Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, 710 N. Lake Shore Dr. Abbott Hall, Room 1123, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA.



Temperature regulation in humans is controlled by the hypothalamus. After death by neurological criteria, the hypothalamus ceases to function and poikilothermia ensues. Preservation of normothermia in those patients destined to become organ donors is an important part of maintaining the normal physiology of the organs and organ systems. Typical means of achieving normothermia include increasing the temperature of the ambient air, infrared warming lights, instillation of warmed intravenous fluids, and warm air or water blankets.


In this prospective case series of five organ donors, we used an intravascular temperature modulation catheter (Alsius, Irvine, CA) to maintain normothermia in organ donors declared dead by neurological criteria. Data on accuracy of temperature maintenance at 37 degrees C and nursing ease of use were collected.


This intravascular temperature modulation catheter provided an accurate method of temperature regulation in brain death donor and easier to use from a nursing workload perspective.


Intravascular warming is a viable method for the maintenance of normothermia in organ donors. The experience here provides some insight into the ability of these devices to warm patients in other clinical situations.

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