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Anaesthesia. 2010 Mar;65(3):260-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.2009.06227.x. Epub 2010 Jan 16.

Therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest - implementation in UK intensive care units.

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Specialist Registrar in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK.


A telephone survey was carried out to determine how many United Kingdom intensive care units were using therapeutic hypothermia as part of their management of unconscious patients admitted after cardiac arrest. All 247 intensive care units listed in the 2008 Directory of Critical Care Services were contacted to determine how many units were using hypothermia as part of their post-cardiac arrest management and how it was implemented. We obtained information from 243 (98.4%) of the intensive care units. At the time of the study, 208 (85.6%) were using hypothermia as part of post-cardiac arrest management. There has been a steady increase annually in the number of units performing therapeutic cooling from 2003 to date, with the majority of units starting in 2007 or 2008. The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation guidelines, which recommend the use of therapeutic hypothermia for comatose patients following successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest, have taken at least 4-5 years to achieve widespread implementation in the United Kingdom.

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