Monday, January 09, 2006

Post Arrest Hypothermia

From Medical Equipment Designer (courtesy of Medgadget):

The induction of mild hypothermia (lowering a patient’s temperature from 37°C to between 32° and 35°C) after cardiac arrest was proposed in the 1950s in an effort to protect the brain against global ischemia, which Webster’s defines as: “the localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood.” However, the idea wallowed in obscurity until recently because of the many uncertainties involved in deliberately inducing hypothermia in a resuscitated patient. Since then, various medical journals — The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and Resuscitation, among them — have included numerous studies on animals and humans demonstrating the usefulness of this technique. The February 21, 2002 issue of NEJM features two studies that suggest therapeutic hypothermia is beneficial to the neurological outcome of the patient when he has been resuscitated after cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation. These studies and their favorable results have led to an endorsement of mild hypothermia therapy by the American Heart Association as well as to the development of a sophisticated system that is designed to perform the entire task simply and accurately.


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