News from Upstate

November 29, 2010
Kathleen Paice 315 464-4839

Therapeutic hypothermia offered to enhance survival rates for cardiac arrest patients

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate University Hospital is using therapeutic hypothermia to improve survival rates and reduce cognitive loss in cardiac arrest patients. Therapeutic hypothermia safely lowers a patient’s body temperature to reduce the risk of tissue injury following a period of insufficient blood flow due to cardiac arrest. The treatment can be given up to eight hours after onset of the illness in eligible patients.

“We’re seeing wonderful results due to this treatment,” said Julius Gene Latorre, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of neurology and director of the hospital’s Neuroscience Critical Care Service.

Latorre and his team use the Arctic Sun system to deliver the therapy and to manage the core temperature of critically ill patients.

A temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit is entered into the system’s modulator that is connected to cooling pads, strategically placed on the patient’s body. The modulator controls the temperature of water circulating through the pads via a patient/temperature feedback loop. The patient can be cooled as the pads transfer heat from the patient without posing the risk of insertion site bleeding or infection associated with catheters. The targeted temperature level with little fluctuation is usually achieved within an hour. Treatment is typically administered to cardiac arrest patients for 24 hours and can be left in place for up to five days in patients with other indications for hypothermia. The system can also maintain a patient’s normal body temperature following the rewarming phase to help prevent rebound hyperthermia.

The treatment can be used to relieve intracranial pressure in patients with ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, ruptured brain aneurysm and brain trauma and to treat brain swelling resulting from encephalitis and meningitis.

“It also may benefit patients with persistent high grade fever who are unresponsive to usual treatment,” said Latorre.

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