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Rev Neurol. 2004 Jun 1-15;38(11):1050-5.

[Relationship between body temperature and prognosis, and neuroprotective effect of hypothermia in acute stroke patients].

[Article in Spanish]

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Unidad de Ictus, Hospital-ClĂ­nica Kennedy, Guayaquil, Ecuador.



We review the relationship between body temperature and severity of acute stroke, and evaluate published evidence about the possible neuroprotective effect of hypothermia in these patients.


In acute stroke patients, hypothermia increases oxygen consumption and metabolic demands of cerebral cells, favors liberation of oxygen radicals, glutamate, and other neurotransmisors involved in brain injury, and enhances biochemical processes leading to apoptosis. Preliminary data suggest that induced hypothermia is feasible and relatively safe in acute stroke patients; this may lead to a better outcome in terms of reduced mortality and less disabling sequelae in survivors. To enhance its possible efficacy, hypothermia should be started in the first 6 to 12 hours after the event, should be prolonged for at least 24 to 48 hours, and should be done with cooling blankets or ice pads, as antipyretics are not effective to induce hypothermia in normothermic subjects.


Hyperthermia is deleterious in acute stroke patients and must be treated. Hypothermia should not be considered a routine procedure in these patients until its safety and efficacy has been demonstrated in large trials. Patients with induced hypothermia should be closely monitorized to reduce the risk of adverse effects related to the procedure.

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