Hypothermia treatment for cardiac arrest underused in US hospitals

6 January 2012

Therapeutic hypothermia has been proven to reduce mortality and improve neurologic outcomes after a heart attack, yet it was rarely used in a sample of more than 26,000 patients, according to a study published in Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Therapeutic hyperthermia was used in only 0.35% of cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in this study. The authors, from Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, state that “Continued education, dissemination of evidence-based guidelines to community hospitals, the development of and preferential transport of patients to designated cardiac arrest treatment centers, and enhanced reimbursement may help increase its application in clinical practice.”

“This informative study underscores the need to more efficiently target and treat cardiac arrest patients that would benefit from hypothermic therapy. The fact that therapeutic hypothermia is underutilized at US hospitals emphasizes the need to identify and address barriers to this evidence-based therapy,” says W. Dalton Dietrich, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Kinetic Concepts Distinguished Chair in Neurosurgery, Professor of Neurological Surgery, Neurology and Cell Biology and Anatomy, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

Further information

 The article is available at www.liebertpub.com/ther

Patel PV, et al. Therapeutic Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest is Underutilized in the United States. Therapeutic Hypothermia and Temperature Management. Vol 1, Num 4, 2011. www.liebertonline.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/ther.2011.0015

Also see MTB Europe feature: Inner cooling reduces heart and brain damage after MI, cardiac arrest and stroke

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