14 Nov 09

Active surface cooling protocol to induce mild therapeutic hypothermia after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A retrospective before-and-after comparison in a single hospital

Posted in Cardiac arrest/Resuscitation, Hypothermia at 2:31 by Laci

ByC Don, W Longstreth, C Maynard, M Olsufka, G Nichol, T Ray et al

Crit Care Med – published ahead of print

To evaluate whether implementation of a therapeutic hypothermia protocol on arrival in a community hospital improved survival and neurologic outcomes in patients initially found to have ventricular fibrillation, pulseless electrical activity, or asystole, and then successfully resuscitated from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Design
A retrospective study of patients who presented after implementation of a therapeutic hypothermia protocol compared with those who presented before the protocol was implemented.

Setting
Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA.

Patients
A total of 491 consecutive adults with out-of-hospital, nontraumatic cardiac arrest who presented between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2004.

Interventions
An active cooling therapeutic hypothermia protocol, using ice packs, cooling blankets, or cooling pads to achieve a temperature of 32oC to 34oC was initiated on November 18, 2002 for unconscious patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest.

Measurements and main results
Demographics and outcomes were obtained from medical records and an emergency medical database. The primary outcomes were survival and favorable neurologic outcome at discharge associated with the therapeutic hypothermia protocol. An adjusted analysis was performed, using a multivariate regression. During the therapeutic hypothermia period, 204 patients were brought to the emergency department; of these 204 patients, 132 (65%) ultimately achieved temperatures of <34oC. Of the 72 patients who did not achieve goal temperatures: 40 (20%) died in the emergency department or shortly after being admitted to the hospital, 15 (7%) regained consciousness, four (2%) had contraindications, 13 (6%) had temperature increase or did not have documented use of the therapeutic hypothermia protocol. In the prior period, none of the 287 patients received active cooling. Patients admitted in the therapeutic hypothermia period had a mean esophageal temperature of 34.1oC during the first 12 hrs compared with 35.2oC in the pretherapeutic hypothermia period (p < 0.01). Survival to hospital discharge improved in the therapeutic hypothermia period in patients with an initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation (odds ratio = 1.88, 95% confidence interval = 1.03-3.45), however not in patients with nonventricular fibrillation (odds ratio = 1.17, 95% confidence interval = 0.66-2.05). In adjusted analysis, ventricular fibrillation patients during the therapeutic hypothermia period trended toward improved survival (odds ratio = 1.71, 95% confidence interval = 0.85-3.46) and had favorable neurologic outcome (odds ratio = 2.62, 95% confidence interval = 1.1-6.27) compared with the earlier period. This benefit was not observed in patients whose initial rhythm was pulseless electrical activity or asystole.

Conclusions
The therapeutic hypothermia period was associated with a significant improvement in neurologic outcomes in patients whose initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation, but not in patients with other rhythms.

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