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New therapeutic cooling guidance will improve treatment

New therapeutic cooling guidance will improve treatment
19th October 2011

Guidance has been issued to physicians to improve the use of therapeutic cooling to treat cardiac arrest patients.

To prevent brain damage following sudden cardiac arrest, doctors are increasingly inducing hypothermia to slow down the body's metabolism and reduce the cascade of undesirable events that cause brain damage.

A new study by the Mayo Clinic has dispelled some of the myths previously associated with therapeutic cooling.

It had been thought inducing hypothermia delayed a patient from waking up after the event, when it is important for a patient to be conscious in order for doctors to determine prognosis.

However, the Mayo study has proven that patients who experience cardiac arrest generally wake up within 72 hours of the incident, whether or not they have undergone cooling.

Senior author of the study Dr Alejandro Rabinstein stated: "After sudden cardiac arrest, the use of therapeutic hypothermia can make a difference.

"Our study relieves concerns about delayed awakening associated with hypothermia and supports its use when indicated."
Cooling therapy is also reported to be a cost effective alternative to other post-cardiac arrest therapies.

Using a complex mathematical design system, researchers found that the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for therapeutic hypothermia compared to other treatments was £29,830 per quality adjusted life-year.

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