Cooling patients after cardiac arrest may prevent brain damageBMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7318.889/b (Published 20 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:889
- Deborah Josefson
- San Francisco
Controlled hypothermia may reduce the neurological damage caused by cardiac arrest, but cooling needs to start rapidly to be feasible and practical, a new preliminary study has said (Circulation 2001;104:1799-804).
Hypothermia has proved effective in limiting ischaemic neurological damage in various animal models but has not been widely used in humans. Although the exact neuroprotective mechanisms are unknown, it is likely that cooling slows metabolic processes and stabilises membranes by limiting free radical injury and enzymatic breakdown.
The preservative effect of cooling is well known, and physicians have long hoped to capitalise on it for patients with cardiac arrest or stroke.
Physicians from the departments of neurology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, and cardiology from the University of Texas Medical …