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Circulation. 2001 Oct 9;104(15):1799-804.

Hypothermia after cardiac arrest: feasibility and safety of an external cooling protocol.

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Department of Neurology, Stroke Treatment Team, University of Texas-Houston Medical School, Houston, Texas, USA.



No proven neuroprotective treatment exists for ischemic brain injury after cardiac arrest. Mild-to-moderate induced hypothermia (MIH) is effective in animal models.


A safety and feasibility trial was designed to evaluate mild-to-moderate induced hypothermia by use of external cooling blankets after cardiac arrest. Inclusion criteria were return of spontaneous circulation within 60 minutes of advanced cardiac life support, hypothermia initiated within 90 minutes, persistent coma, and lack of acute myocardial infarction or unstable dysrhythmia. Hypothermia to 33 degrees C was maintained for 24 hours followed by passive rewarming. Nine patients were prospectively enrolled. Mean time from advanced cardiac life support to return of spontaneous circulation was 11 minutes (range 3 to 30); advanced cardiac life support to initiation of hypothermia was 78 minutes (range 40 to 109); achieving 33 degrees C took 301 minutes (range 90 to 690). Three patients completely recovered, and 1 had partial neurological recovery. One patient developed unstable cardiac dysrhythmia. No other unexpected complications occurred.


Mild-to-moderate induced hypothermia after cardiac arrest is feasible and safe. However, external cooling is slow and imprecise. Efforts to speed the start of cooling and to improve the cooling process are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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