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AACN Adv Crit Care. 2006 Apr-Jun;17(2):125-32.

Clinically induced hypothermia: why chill your patient?

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University of Colorado Hospital, Denver, 80262, USA.


Clinically induced hypothermia is an evidence-based intervention strategy that can improve the neurological outcome of unconscious patients after sudden cardiac arrest. Until recently, clinically induced hypothermia has been primarily used during surgery as a mechanism of preserving cardiovascular and neurologic stability of patients. Current evidence suggests that early use of mild hypothermia therapy in select populations of patients improves survival and neurologic outcome postdischarge. While clinically induced hypothermia is beneficial as a treatment to preserve neurologic function, it is not without complications. The purpose of this article is to review current literature and evidence-based nursing practice implications for managing the induction of a hypothermic state in adult patients who remain comatose after initial resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest. Physiologic benefits of hypothermia, complications, and nursing care considerations will be presented.

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