Therapeutic Hypothermia: Preventing Damage After Cardiac Arrest

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Introduction Hypothermia protocol for the post cardiac arrest patient has been an evidence based practice of this therapy for about a decade now. This intervention, often used in the critical care setting, is now expanding to primary emergency responders as well. This paper will present some of the notable research that has been done on therapeutic hypothermia, and current use of this intervention. Control studies, animal studies, and case studies have been published related to these medical interventions. Unfortunately, there are still many healthcare providers not using this intervention. Dainty, Scales, Brooks, Needham, Dorian, Ferguson et al. (2011) study states, “observational research shows that therapeutic hypothermia is …show more content…

Reperfusion injury is the harmful adverse effects attributed to reestablished circulation (Writing Group et al., 2003). Hypothermia inhibits or reduces normal body functions such as apoptosis and inflammation, and these can often cause additional damage (Torgersen, Bjelland, Klepstad, Kvale, Soreide et al., 2010). Also, by cooling the body to the designated range the metabolic rate slows down and decreases oxygen demand. This allows tissue to avoid ischemia, in particular the brain and heart. The brain is protected in many ways including preserving the blood brain barrier and decreasing harmful free radicals (Wall, 2011). More recent studies done on animals have been performed in order to manipulate the variables associated with the hypothermia protocol in attempt to solidify the most effective treatment. Although animal studies allow for a more precise scientific method and yield important information, they are not guaranteed to be identical in a human patient. One study involved pigs that underwent a mechanically induced 100% occlusion of the LAD. The results suggested that only early-induced hypothermia, prior to reperfusion, yield a decreased infarct size. Also hypothermia, regardless of onset time related to reperfusion decreased microvascular obstruction. In addition, the study utilized IV cold saline to achieve a more rapid cooling. The pigs, about 50kg, reached less than 35 degrees Celsius in 5 minutes. The usual time for humans to cool using

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