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Resuscitation. 2008 Nov;79(2):198-204. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2008.08.014.

Outcomes of a hospital-wide plan to improve care of comatose survivors of cardiac arrest.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, United States.



Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) improves outcomes in comatose survivors of cardiac arrest. Few hospitals have protocol-driven plans that include TH. We implemented a series of process interventions designed to increase TH use and improve outcomes in patients successfully resuscitated from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) or in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA).


Linked interventions including a TH order sheet, verbal and written feedback to individual providers, an educational program, TH "kit" and on-call consultants to assist with patient care and hypothermia induction were implemented between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2007 in a large, university-affiliated, tertiary care center. We then completed a retrospective review of all patients treated for cardiac arrest during the study period. Descriptive statistics, chi-squared analyses, or Fisher's exact test were used as appropriate. A p value <0.05 was considered significant. 135 OHCA patients and 106 IHCA patients were eligible for post-arrest care. TH use increased each year in the OHCA group (from 6% to 65% to 76%; p<0.001) and IHCA group (from 0% to 36% to 53%; p=.02). A good outcome was achieved in 21% and 8% of comatose patients with OHCA and IHCA, respectively. Patients with OHCA and ventricular dysrhythmia were more likely to have a good outcome with TH treatment than without it (good outcome in 57% vs. 8%; p=.005).


Implementing a series of aggressive interventions increased appropriate TH use and was associated with improved outcomes in our facility.

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